Firefighters extinguish Centre Court fire at Wimbledon

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Firefighters extinguished a small blaze within Centre Court at Wimbledon shortly after play ended on the third day of the championships.

The world-famous tennis arena was evacuated when the fire was discovered in an electrical plant room shortly before 9pm, and spectators who had stayed in the grounds following the close of play were urgently ushered out by security staff.

An announcement was made over the public address system shortly after 9pm requesting that anyone remaining inside the court building, where play had recently ended for the day, should immediately vacate it.

That announcement briefly interrupted a Serena Williams press conference in the Millennium Building media centre, adjacent to Centre Court.

Alarms rang out and a further request was made for anyone on the tea lawn between Gates Four and Five to also evacuate, as fire engines rapidly arrived at the All England Club.

Wimbledon’s media office announced shortly before midnight: “The All England Club has confirmed that the Centre Court building was evacuated following an incident at 20:57 tonight involving a small fire in an electrical plant room located to the side of the Wingfield Restaurant.

“The incident, which occurred approximately 60 minutes after play had finished for the day, was attended by the London Fire Brigade and the fire was extinguished.”

A tweet from London Fire Brigade earlier said it was called to the scene due to a small fire which had been dealt with and was under control.

The Fire Brigade later added: “Game set and match. The fire at #Wimbledon2015 tennis club is now under control.”

A tournament spokesman said there was a “suspected electrical fault” which may have caused the small fire.

There had been much earlier in the day a fire drill on Court One, however events by its sister court were very real.

Opened in 1922 and extensively renovated since, including the addition of a roof, Centre Court is the premier show court at the tournament.

Security staff were being allowed to leave at 10.30pm as it became apparent the problem had been contained.