Investigation into Blackpool bar blaze

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In investigation has begun into the cause of a massive blaze at Walkabout in Blackpool town centre.

The fire broke out at the bar on Queen Street at 5.30am on Wednesday.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at Walkabout in Queen Street, Blackpool. Picture submitted by Paul Wilkinson.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at Walkabout in Queen Street, Blackpool. Picture submitted by Paul Wilkinson.

Around 70 firefighters were originally called to tackle the flames, though the taskforce was reduced once the fire was under control, later in the morning.

12 members of staff who live in the building were inside when the fire broke out, but got themselves to safety as the fire service arrived.

Many remained nearby, wearing just their pyjamas and some with nothing on their feet.

A spokesman from Walkabout said: “We have given cash to all of them so they can buy new clothes and shoes to wear today, and they have all been fed and watered.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at Walkabout in Queen Street, Blackpool. Picture submitted by Paul Wilkinson.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at Walkabout in Queen Street, Blackpool. Picture submitted by Paul Wilkinson.

“We’re arranging accommodation for them tonight at a local hotel, and we hope to find new homes and jobs for them at other Walkabout venues in the UK within the next 24 hours.”

Wesley Davies, 28, the owner of the Tapas Bar on Queen Street which is next to Walkabout, said: “The police rang me at 6.30am to tell me to get out and I looked out of my window I thought I’d better get moving. I had not been back in so I don’t know what has happened to my stuff, but it’s not looking good and the fire brigade are in there having a look.

“Without Walkabout the street will be gone because it’s a big draw for the area.”

Fire crews used aerial ladders to fight the flames from above the building

Julian Williams, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “The fire is surrounded and there’s several pockets throughout the roof that we are still trying to get at at the moment and we are going to be here for several hours yet. It will be subject to a full fire investigation.

“We have used two aerial ladder platforms and a third is on its way. More than 35 fighters using breathing apparatus have tackled the fire and the damage is quite considerable in the building, but our main priority is to prevent it getting any worse.”

The Promenade is open northbound but remains closed southbound between Springfield Road and Church Street.

Queen Street, part of Dickson Road and Talbot Road are all closed.

Traffic flow has been reversed along Topping Street.

Town centre bus services are now back to normal.

Extra trams have also been put on by Blackpool Transport.

Guy Thornton, operations manager at Blackpool Transport, said: “We can’t divert buses onto minor roads so we need to know how long the fire service are going to be here. The main roads into town are shut and now we have the problem of rush hour traffic, there is nowhere anyone can go. There is not a lot we can do but we are assisting as much as we can.”

HAVE YOU GOT PICTURES OR VIDEO OF THE FIRE? E-MAIL THEM TO ED.STONE@BLACKPOOLGAZETTE.CO.UK.

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