The last two years has seen a high number of major fires in well known Morecambe and Lancaster buildings.
The small fire at Bar 1725 in Lancaster on Thursday was the latest in a series of blazes which have hit some of the district’s most prominent premises.
The laser game centre on Marine Road West in Morecambe caught fire at around 6.20pm on June 12 2014. People were evacuated from nearby flats and businesses as the blaze swept through the building, sending clouds of smoke billowing for miles around on a hot summer’s evening. Owner Richard Holmes and his family were on holiday at the time and he said he was “devastated” when he heard the news. There were no injuries but the damage to the building was so severe the 21 year-old business had to close and the Megazone had to be partly demolished. It remains a burned-out shell on the promenade. A three month investigation into the cause of the fire proved inconclusive. A Lancaster City Council spokesman said this week: “There are no new uses for this site emerging at the present time. Officers continue to monitor the condition of this site.”
The popular toy shop in the West End of Morecambe went up in flames on January 6 2016. The 85 year old Joy’s Toys was described by a neighbouring shopkeeper as “a landmark business”. Owner Stan Joy, 88, was evacuated from the shop and taken to hospital but was later released. He later said: “I was in the lounge in my chair by the window and I saw people in the street shouting and waving, saying ‘Get out, the property is burning!’ I picked up my keys and came out of the front door and locked it. The fire brigade moved us to the other side of the road and within five minutes there was a big blast from the two properties. Then the windows started coming out.” Three teenagers were arrested on suspicion of arson.
A fire started on the second floor of the fitness centre in Penny Street, Lancaster on March 24 2016.
Fire officers believe it had broken out in the gym’s sauna and quickly spread. The gym and nearby shops were evacuated, the roof collapsed and thick smoke spread all over the city centre. Nobody was hurt. Owner Alison Walsh later said: “Devastated isn’t the word. Ten years of blood, sweat, tears and determination have gone up in flames.” The gym and ground floor Ernest Jones jewellers remain boarded up but Inspire is operating from other premises.
St Nicholas Arcades
Seven fire engines raced to the scene after a fire broke out at the Poundland store in Lancaster on June 1 2016. There were no casualties. Flames could be seen coming from behind the Wilko store and spreading into Penny Street, Market Street and the city centre. Lancaster Fire Crew Manager Scott Lee said: “We believe it was deliberate, some people got up on the roof, we don’t know how, spilt some oil of some sort and set it on fire.” Three teenagers were later issued with police warnings for starting the fire deliberately.
Lancaster police station
An electrical fault caused a fire in an office at the police station on the evening of Saturday, July 23 2016. Nobody was hurt.
The Ranch House
The empty former pub at the Frontierland site in Morecambe, which had been closed for five months, was set ablaze on the evening of July 1 2016. Three teenagers from Morecambe have been questioned in connection with the incident and two have been arrested. Enquiries are ongoing.