Charred remains of latest blaze to ravage Blackpool seafront
The tell-tale smell of fire clung to our clothes '“ the smell of burnt plastic an assault on the senses.
This is what is left of the melted buckets and charred soft toys after flames ripped through Gifts Galore, a three-stroey Promenade building.
Those items and more were scattered on the first floor of the property, which sits under the shadow of Blackpool Tower.
Six fire crews tackled the blaze last Friday and stopped it spreading.
But the combined impact of fire, smoke and water has taken its toll and it is a long way off from selling gifts to thousands of visitors once more.
Its owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said it will be a long road to restoring the premises.
The first floor is used as a store room for the shop and the vast majority of the items have been destroyed in the fire.
The ground floor, despite not being fire damaged, has been soaked from water on the floor above.
He said: “There is no electric currently throughout the building so hopefully that will be resolved soon.
“The building inspectors had been round already and declared the structure safe but it will obviously need so internal work to make it usable again.
“I don’t know what is going to happen until I hear back from the investigation.
“I think that some of the stock would be salvagable but it’s up to the insurers to decide.
“They have told me to provide an itinerary to them which obviously will take some time due to the amount of items in the shop.”
The building is rented by a landord who has also inspected the building since the incident.
With no electric it is difficult to navigate around the shop in the dark. The torch light from mobile phones helped illuminate the sea of damage.
The third floor, which was mainly empty, wasn’t affected by the fire as much as the other two levels.
Fire investigations officer Lee Cook said: “We‘re carrying out a fire and police investigation into the cause of the fire.
“We are following a couple of lines of enquiry.
“On the first floor there was a single room which the fire was contained within and that’s where we are focusing our attention at the moment.
“We are moving fire debris and trying to identify a plausible ignition source.”
Exactly a week before the fire at Gifts Galore 30 firefighters battled another blaze at next door’s MFA Bowl.
Mr Cook added: “We do not think that the two fires are linked at this point but it is not out of the question.”
Watch manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Warren Topp said: “On arrival smoke was issuing from the first and second floors.
“Access was made to the first floor using ladders and a hose reel to fight the fire through a window using two breathing apparatus.”
The fire crews also tackled the fire from a first floor window.
They managed to access the ground floor by cutting through the roller shutter doors to allow two more firefighters wearing breathing masks to go inside.