Lancashire traders counting the cost of fire at historic hall’s craft centre

DAMAGED: The site of the blaze at Heskin Hall's farmers' market and craft centre

DAMAGED: The site of the blaze at Heskin Hall's farmers' market and craft centre

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Dozens of firefighters called in to tackle major blaze which damaged traders’ units

Traders at a Lancashire crafts centre were today counting the cost of a major blaze which badly damaged the building.

It could have been a lot worse – the fire brigade contained it pretty well.

Sarah Ruttle

Firefighters from Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Preston along with colleagues from Greater Manchester tackled a large blaze in the farmers’ market and craft centre at the historic Heskin Hall estate, near Chorley, on Thursday morning.

The upper floor was badly damaged and businesses on both floors were affected.

Traders and workmen were today battling to get the business fully operational.

Manager Sarah Ruttle said around 80 per cent of traders were operating normally despite the damage caused and repair work was ongoing.

Traders and customers were evacuated from the building when the blaze broke out at around 10am on Thursday.

Crews managed to prevent the fire spreading and saved the building from complete devastation.

Sarah paid tribute to the efforts being made, and support received from the local community.

She said: “It could have been a lot worse – the fire brigade contained it pretty well.

“Everyone has been really supportive. We are so grateful for everyone’s help. We want to stress we are still open for business – but some traders have lost a lot and it’s heartbreaking to see.”

Watch manager Joe Joseph, of Chorley fire station, said the fire started near a first floor stall. When firefighters arrived the building had been evacuated and the area was well alight and the blaze spreading across the roofline.

Officers wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze with hosereels and managed to contain it. But there was serious fire damage to the upper floor and smoke and water damage to the ground floor as well.

He said: “We suppressed the fire very well. The building could have very easily been burned out.”

Mr Joseph said colleagues from Greater Manchester attended and helped the Lancashire officers explore the roof void using an aerial ladder.

Officers stayed at the scene for five hours making sure there were no other pockets of fire in the structure.

The cause of the blaze is still being investigated, but it is thought to have been acccidental.