Barrow shop blaze drama
Last updated at 14:49, Monday, 31 December 2012
A PANTOMIME audience had to be evacuated from the theatre after a fire broke out in an adjacent Barrow charity shop.
Firefighters and police were called to the British Heart Foundation shop in Portland Walk at 5.45pm on Saturday after a fire started inside the building.
The Red Riding Hood panto which was being performed in The Forum had to be cancelled for safety reasons due to the smell which spread to the building.
A spokeswoman for The Forum said the theatre was around half-full and all customers were offered the chance to watch the show again yesterday (Sun) for no extra charge.
Evening Mail columnist Darren McSweeney was one of the first on the scene.
He said: “All the shop windows were blackened and smoke was pouring from the shop door and above the windows.
“Within minutes, smoke was billowing from the eaves of the two-storey building roof.
“The heat from the windows at the groundfloor was intense and the fire crews immediately evacuated the area due to fears of exploding glass.
“The building is full of electrical items such as televisions and furnishings, three-piece suites and dining tables.
“In the absence of the keyholder, fire crews gained access using a sledgehammer to break down the door to the store, but the amount of acrid smoke prevented crews from entering immediately.”
Fire station manager Al Maguire said the fire was not being treated as arson and an electrical fault was one possibility.
He said: “It’s under investigation at the moment, but it’s not thought to be malicious.
“It’s done quite an amount of damage to the stock.
“There’s the direct burning on the groundfloor, but with the type of items in that shop, it’s also produced a lot of smoke and heat which has spread to the upstairs and caused smoke damage.”
Mr Maguire said the majority of the stock downstairs was “severely damaged”.
Trudy Warburton, area manager for the British Heart Foundation, was at the scene in the aftermath of the fire as she waited for a glazier to arrive and board up the shopfront.
Ms Warburton said: “We’re just trying to determine what the cause of the fire was and then there’ll be a big clean-up operation.
“We are going to be in urgent need of donated stock from the general public.
“Luckily, somebody quickly alerted the fire brigade to the fact there was a fire, so that has thankfully helped minimise the damage and we’re very grateful for that.”
First published at 14:45, Monday, 31 December 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
if my memory serves me correctly this is not the first time there has been a fire in this unit there was a fire when Peacocks had it so maybe the Electrics need checking