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Pedicab catches fire outside Buckingham Palace

Firefighters had to put the flames out (X/@@SteveMoye)
Firefighters had to put the flames out (X/@@SteveMoye)

An electric pedicab, otherwise known as a rickshaw, caught fire outside Buckingham Palace.

Photos and videos on social media showed firefighters putting out flames while onlookers described hearing an "explosion" on Buckingham Gate.

Greg Double, 35, from Fulham, west London, who was walking with his daughter to the playground in St James' Park, saw the fire He said: “When we got to the corner of Buckingham Gate there was a fire on the pavement - it got to about four feet high and was making popping sounds.

"Fire and police were already on the scene and it was put out with minimal fuss."

He added: "Given the location, a few people were speculating about it being terrorism or some form of protest, but it just looked like a bike on fire to me.

"I overhead one copper say it was a rickshaw that had caught fire rather then an e-bike, but driver was nowhere to be seen."

The cause of the so-called explosion is not yet known but the Metropolitan Police said they do not believe it was intentional.

One social media clip showed concerned bystanders watching flumes of smoke billow from outside the iconic site.

Emergency services dealing with the fire
Emergency services dealing with the fire

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a pedicab caught fire on Spur Road.

The force said: “A road closure is in place while London Fire Brigade respond.

“No injuries were reported.

“The fire is not believed to be suspicious or deliberate.”

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said: “Crews were called to an electric trike rickshaw which was alight and totally destroyed by the fire.

"We sent one fire engine from Lambeth Fire Station at 12.44pm and the incident was over at 13.02pm. There were no injuries reported."

In February, a converted e-bike burst into flames in the middle of a busy west London high street.

It was “producing jets of flame that are hot enough to melt through metal”, the LFB said.

Footage on social media showed the bike exploding with sparks flying high into the air as the bike lay on fire in a cycle lane.

An LFB spokesperson said at the time: “You can also see what looks like white smoke but is actually an extremely toxic vapour cloud that should never be inhaled.

“Lithium battery fires are ferocious and people should stay well away from them for their own safety.”

E-bikes and e-scooters have become London’s fastest growing fire risk and there was a fire, on average, once every two days in 2023.

Three people have died in these fires and around 60 people have been hurt in fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters, the LFB said.

The LFB have warned that some e-bikes and e-scooters are proving to be “incredibly dangerous” if they are not used safely.

This is a breaking story. More to come.