‘Hero’ hairdresser praised for tackling Lancaster city centre blaze

The owners of a Lancaster hair and beauty salon have praised staff, businesses and emergency services following a major fire over the weekend.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 10:07 am
Matt Snelling receiving treatment following the fire at Jo and Cass.

Graham Cass, co-owner of Jo and Cass, in Great John Street, said if it wasn’t for the efforts and quick thinking of hairdresser Matt Snelling, the fire could have been a lot worse.

Six fire engines from Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and Milnthorpe got the call out to the fire, which took hold of the roof space at the fully-booked hair and beauty salon on Saturday, at around 12.30pm.

There were around 76 staff and 50 customers in the building at the time.

Emergency services at Jo & Cass in Lancaster on Saturday. Image: BBC Radio Lancashire

Fire crews arrived as hairdresser Matt Snelling, who works at Jo and Cass, and co-owner Joanne Ireland, battled the flames with a fire extinguisher.

Co-owner Graham Cass has praised the pair for their bravery.

He said: “The fire alarm went off and Matthew went off to search the building and found the fire up in the laundry room.

“He then called the fire brigade and ran back downstairs to let everyone know to evacuate the building.

Jo and Cass staff finishing off appointments in Dalton Square

“Then Matt and my business partner Joanne went back up with the fire extinguishers and tried to put the fire out.

“Matt was a bit of a hero really.

“Without him doing what he did until the fire crews arrived, the fire could have been a lot worse.

“He suffered from smoke inhalation but he was still smiling.

“The staff evacuated all the customers, and other salons, including David Frank and Heaton Hair, helped wash colours out and finish treatments.

“Some of the staff finished off hair in Dalton Square.”

Graham also praised fire crews, describing them as “real gentlemen”.

It is understood that one of the tumble dryers caught fire and this in turn set fire to the roof and caused damage to some office spaces.

Lancashire Police closed the road outside the building due to the fire, and this caused major tailbacks in delays in Lancaster city centre on Saturday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found a well-developed fire in the roof space and the aerial ladder platform from Preston was also called to the incident.

“They used four breathing apparatus and one hose reel to extinguish the fire.

“No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is now under investigation.”

Business has not been affected at Jo and Cass and it is open as usual this week.