Praise for firefighters at Walkabout blaze drama

Pictures:Bill Johnson.'Fire at Walkabout, Queen Street, Blackpool.
Pictures:Bill Johnson.'Fire at Walkabout, Queen Street, Blackpool.
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Parts of Walkabout will need to be demolished after it was ravaged by a devastating blaze.

Firefighters from Forest Gate remained at the Queen Street venue yesterday as fire investigators were allowed into the building to begin a probe into the cause and origins of the fire which erupted at 5.3oam on Wednesday.

Assistant chief fire officer David Russel told The Gazette: “It is an old, Victorian row of terraced buildings and due to the severity of the fire there were some parts which had collapsed internally.

“In conjunction with the local authority’s building inspector, we have established there are parts of the building which are a concern to us, both from a public and a firefighter perspective. They are clearly marked and will be part of an organised demolition programme.”

Firefighters from across the county were called to help put out the burning building – the home of 13 members of Walkabout staff, many from Australia who lost all their possessions in the fire.

Twelve were inside when the fire started at 5.30am, but got themselves out before the first fire crews arrived.

They have been rehoused and found work elsewhere.

Chief executive officer of Intertainment Limited, which owns Walkabout Blackpool, John Leslie, said: “Our staff are bearing up very well given the circumstances and we are incredibly proud of them.

“The bar is very popular and we have loads of loyal customers. Our intention is to repair the damage and reopen as soon as we possibly can.
“We are very upset not to be open at the moment especially as we head in to the important summer period.”