A POLICE force said no-one was hurt and day-to-day operations were unaffected by a fire at its headquarters building.

But the exact cost of the damage caused by Tuesday’s (January 1) fire at the Durham Constabulary offices, at Aykley Heads, Durham, is still being assessed.

The blaze, sparked by an overheated battery exploding, badly damaged a ground-floor office and storage room in a training area of an administration block.

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Two police officers who were in the vicinity at the time of the explosion, at 7.30am on New Year’s Day, escaped injury but were sent home following the incident.

The flames failed to spread through the 1960s-built complex, although some adjoining rooms suffered smoke damage.

It is understood the battery, containing highly reactive and flammable lithium metal, is used in a police radio and had been left to recharge at the time of the explosion.

Durham Police today (Wednesday January 2) confirmed there were no injuries arising from the blast or fire, which was said to have had no impact on daily service delivery by the force.

Assistant chief officer Gary Ridley, said: “It’s too early to estimate the cost of any damage until a structural engineer has made a detailed assessment.

“In the meantime, continuity plans have been put in place to ensure that it is ‘business as usual’, and I would like to thank staff for their support.”

Durham’s recently-elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, praised the response to the incident.

He said: “I’m pleased and grateful that this isolated incident was dealt with efficiently and effectively by the fire and rescue service.

“I am also pleased that the police force has responded in a similar manner.”

The force is due to transfer to a nearby new £14m headquarters building on the same site in little more than a year.