Safety plea as fire destroys shops

Flats above the Amalfi restaurant were demolished

Flats above the Amalfi restaurant were demolished

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Fire crews in Chorley have issued a plea to business owners after a devastating blaze destroyed three town centre shops.

The fire, which completely destroyed the Amalfi restaurant, nearby Cash Converters, and former Bon Marche shop last month, started in a timber storage yard at the back of the Italian eatery.

Safety enforcement officers at the town’s fire station have now called on business owners to improve housekeeping, maintain equipment and keep outside areas free of rubbish.

Fire safety enforcement leader Tony Clements said: “As well as the obvious devastation, the road closures on Cleveland Street and High Street to both deal with the incidents and allow safe demolition caused major disruption for businesses and the town in general. Even a small fire in a commercial premise can be disastrous.

“In many cases the cause has been of an electrical nature with poor housekeeping being another major factor.”

The fire, at the restaurant on Cleveland Street, was likely to have started due to a fault in an electrical appliance or as a result of a halogen light having been left on, investigators said.

Mr Clements also pleaded with businesses to put wheelie bins a safe distance away from buildings and to keep workplaces clean and tidy.

He said: “A fire in a wheeled bin may be undetected if in a back alley during the night until the adjacent building becomes involved.”

Fire safety officers are available to offer advice. Contact Tony Clements or Mick Dears at Chorley Fire Station on 01257 262919 or at ChorleyFireSafety@lancsfirerescue.org.uk.

Demolition crews are still on-site clearing the wreckage and making sure the site is safe.

It is not yet known whether the businesses will be re-built.