Breaking: First interview with Morecambe toy shop owner who escaped blaze
A toy shop owner who fled a blaze which destroyed his business has been speaking about his ordeal.
Stan Joy, 88, owner of Joys Toys on Albert Road in Morecambe, said: “I’m devastated. I was in the property when it was burning, I thought I could smell burning.
“I was in the lounge in my chair by the window (I was living above the shop) 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.
“They made me go into the ambulance, I said, ‘I’m not going in, I want to see what’s happening with my property’ but I had to go to hospital for tests because I had high blood pressure.
“I’m not on state handouts, just a pension, so I have to make a living from the shop.”
Eyewitness Tracey Austin of Claremont Road, was at the scene of the fire with her two children, who regularly visited Joys Toys and knew Stan well.
Tracey said: “I was there at the right place at the right time.
“I was shouting to Stan ‘Come on you need to come out’ and he said if he hadn’t recognised me from the window he wouldn’t be here now.
“I got hold of him and we walked to the other side of the street. By then flames were coming out of the side of the shop shutters. My children Keeley, eight and Kieron, seven, were heartbroken and devastated, They kept saying ‘That old man has lost everything, that’s all his life he has lost.’ I’m so glad I came out when I did. Thankfully, he wasn’t badly hurt.”
Fire crews were still at the scene on Thursday afternoon after the blaze, which affected a row of terraced buildings on Albert Road.
Search and rescue crews were on the scene securing the property and checking no-one was still trapped in the gutted building.
A fire service spokesman said seven fire engines were called to the scene in Albert Road, West End, Morecambe at 5.30pm on Wednesday.
The fire at Joys Toys had spread to adjoining shop Gladrags and Handbags and police evacuated parts of the area.
One man, thought to be the owner of the toy shop, was evacuated and taken to hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.
Police said he was released later that night.
Up to 62 houses suffered power cuts after an underground cable fault on Albert Road at 8.55pm.
A spokesman for Electricity NorthWest said: “Sixty two customers lost power but engineers arrived and all but two customers were connected by 3am on Thursday.
“Repairs are still being carried out but the remaining two customers should have power soon.”
A police spokesman said: “We were called at 5.30pm on Wednesday to reports of a fire at the toy store on Albert Road, Morecambe.
“The fire quickly spread through the store and up three floors and into the roof space.
“It also affected adjoining properties due to the damage to the roof and a number of people were evacuated for safety reasons.
“Lancashire Fire and Rescue brought the fire under control following several hours.
“Fortunately, nobody was injured although there is extensive fire damage to the building.”
Police have arrested three boys in connection with the fire on Albert Road in Morecambe.
A 14-year-old boy from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of arson, theft and assaulting an officer.
Two boys, aged 14 and 15, also from Morecambe, have been arrested on suspicion of arson and theft.
Police said all three youths have been bailed until February 4 pending further enquiries.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Anyone with information about the incident is can contact police on 101 quoting log reference 1027 of January 6.