Back to business for traders after blaze

Firefighters spent five hours at the centre
Firefighters spent five hours at the centre

A farmers’ market and craft centre is open for business after being hit by a blaze.

Dozens of firefighters from Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Preston, along with crews from Greater Manchester, tackled a large fire at the centre on the historic Heskin Hall estate on Thursday morning.

Sarah Ruttle

“We want to stress we are still open for business – but some traders have lost a lot and it’s heartbreaking to see.”

Customers and traders were evacuated from the building when the blaze broke out at around 10.45am.

Crews managed to prevent the fire spreading and saved the building from complete devastation.

The first floor was partly damaged by the fire and smoke, while the ground floor has minor water damage.

Two other buildings at the centre were not affected and the tea room was untouched.

The centre’s owners, Sarah and Angela Ruttle, have been working to get the centre fully operational, with new temporary space made available in the barn areas for the affected businesses and plans to help them restock.

Some areas have been cordoned off while repairs are made to the affected units and the roof area.

Sarah paid tribute to the efforts being made and support received from the community.

She said: “It could have been a lot worse – the fire brigade contained it pretty well.

“Everyone has been really supportive. We are so grateful for everyone’s help.

“We want to stress we are still open for business – but some traders have lost a lot and it’s heartbreaking to see.”

Joe Joseph, watch manager at Chorley fire station, said the fire started near a first-floor stall.

When firefighters arrived, the area was well alight and the blaze was spreading across the roofline.

Officers wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze with hose reels and managed to contain it.

However, there was fire damage to the first floor and water damage to the ground floor.

He said: “We suppressed the fire very well. The building could have very easily been burned out.”

Officers stayed for five hours, making sure there were no other pockets of fire.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated, but it is thought to have been accidental.