A PLUMBER accidentally started a fire in the basement of an Oxford University building.

The Radcliffe Science Library was evacuated after smoke alarms sounded at 3.21pm on Tuesday.

Firefighters were greeted by an underground service room filled with smoke after insulation was set alight in a service duct using a gas torch.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service originally said the fire took place in the Pitt Rivers Museum but it has since clarified it was in the science libary in Parks Road.

Crews parked up in the forecourt of Pitt Rivers when they arrived at the scene.

The service said three fire engines were sent to the building, and that with ‘swift intervention’ the team was able to put the fire out safely.

Crews also praised the ‘quick-thinking’ of university staff.

The fire service said a post fire investigation confirmed that a plumber using a gas torch accidently ignited insulation

It is not yet known how much damage was caused.

Fire incident commander, watch manager Ricky Thomas said: “I would urge tradespersons that use hot works to take time to review their safe systems of work surrounding the use of such equipment.

“Fortunately, on this occasion the university had working smoke alarms on each floor and effective emergency plans in place which both resulted in a safe outcome.”