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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Cause of fire at Aisle of Brides is released

24/11/2016

A fire investigation has revealed that a blaze which broke out at the Aisle of Brides in Stoke was started accidentally.

"We have had a number of incidents recently of fires being caused because of portable heaters being left too close to clothing and fabrics and I cannot stress strongly enough the potential risks and the devastating consequences that may occur in such circumstances. If you are using a heater, whether it is in your home or a business premises, please ensure that it is not in contact with materials. It only takes one garment to catch fire for an incident to escalate and reap devastating consequences."

Fire Investigation Officer Kelvin Knapper

The incident at the Church Street shop was caused by a portable heater that had been left too close to clothes that were hanging in the suit department, leading them to catch fire.

The men’s section of the shop was well alight when crews arrived at the scene at 2.35pm yesterday. Thanks to the installation of fire resistant doors, the blaze was contained to this one area and did not spread to the bridal part of the building.

At its peak, approximately 30 firefighters from Hanley and Newcastle as well as the Aerial Ladder Platform from Lontgon were tackling the blaze using two hose reel jets. Four breathing apparatus were also in use due to the large amount of smoke.

Fire Investigation Officer Kelvin Knapper said: "Although this was a serious incident it could have been far worse if the owners of the business had not taken the relevant fire safety precautions. It was the smoke alarms that alerted the manager to the blaze and the smoke resistant door did an excellent job of containing the flames to one section of the shop.

"We have been supporting the business overnight and will continue to do so as it faces the challenges ahead to ensure that it can operate as usual as soon as possible. The owners have also been extremely pro-active in contacting and reassuring customers that they are doing everything they can to assist them at what is no doubt a stressful time for all involved.

"We have had a number of incidents recently of fires being caused because of portable heaters being left too close to clothing and fabrics and I cannot stress strongly enough the potential risks and the devastating consequences that may occur in such circumstances. If you are using a heater, whether it is in your home or a business premises, please ensure that it is not in contact with materials. It only takes one garment to catch fire for an incident to escalate and reap devastating consequences."

The incident was officially closed at 6.58am today following a re-inspection of the site.