BT Exchange Fire Knocks Out Credit Card Readers In London’s West End

A fire at BT’s Gerrard Street exchange has left shops in London’s Regent Street and Oxford Street unable to process credit and debit card payments, days before Christmas.

The blaze at the Soho-based exchange occurred last night at 5 am and has left thousands of homes and businesses in the area without phone or broadband services.

There has also been significant water damage to the equipment in the building after the sprinkler system was activated, which is likely to hold repairs up even further.

BT said in a statement on the incident: “A number of customers in Central London are currently experiencing a loss of service. Following clearance from the Fire Brigade, BT's engineers are on site and working around the clock to repair the damage and restore service as quickly as possible.”

It is not yet certain when the problem will be fixed with the Broadband provider claiming: “Given the complexity of the damage, it is not yet possible to accurately predict when all services will be fully restored.”

The loss of services marks a further blow to West End retailers, who have already had to contend with a loss of business from the heavy snowfall and icy weather this month.