Could teddy bear have caused blaze at Harts Amusements in Bispham?

A teddy bear and fellow soft toys kept in a window storage cupboard have been named as possible ‘culprits’ after a blaze at Harts Amusements in Bispham on Sunday  morning.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 9:57 am

Four fire engines from the nearby Bispham station, Blackpool and South Shore were called to the scene shortly after 10.25am as staff saw smoke and flames coming out of the cupboard.

Firefighters equipped with two breathing apparatus used one hose reel to extinguish the flames.

Although there were no customers in the amusements at the time, several residents staying in the Queens Mansions holiday apartments above the premises had to be evacuated.

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One of the teddy bears in the blaze at Harts Amusements in Bispham

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An investigation is still under way to confirm the exact cause of the fire but Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has ruled out any suspicious circumstances.

However, Harts manager Jordan Matthews says a discussion with a fire investigation team on Monday raised the possibility that “excessive heat” from a teddy bear and smaller toys may have caused an unexpected combustion in the cupboard, leading to the fire.

He said: “There are two non-power leads in the cupboard but they have not been touched by the fire.

The charred toys recovered from the window cupboard

“The only thing in the cupboard was the group of prize toys, including a larger teddy bear, and a small number of sweets, which have all been charred.

“The window has not been damaged - the only area affected by the fire in the arcade was the area where where the toys were.”

He said staff had initially used 11 fire extinguishers kept on the premises to douse the flames before firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze, which was contained within the cupboard.

Mr Matthews added: “I’m sure that our efforts to control the fire in those opening minutes helped prevent it spreading, which shows how important it is to have fire safety equipment at hand and to know how to use it.”

Firefighters at Harts Amusements

He praised the staff at Harts for their quick-thinking and those at Queens Mansions for helping the holidaymakers, including two older people, down safely.

They were given free hot drinks at the Cafe Royal across the road, on Red Bank Road.

The amusements hall was able to reopen relatively quickly, at around 1pm.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Serviced was asked about the possibility that the toys may have somehow ignited and caused the fire.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that the fire not started deliberately.

“An investigation into the cause of the fire is still on-going.”