A furniture store in Hartlepool has been nearly destroyed by a huge fire which broke out on Thursday (20th January), with the blaze also causing chaos in the local community.
Police had to cordon off the area, shut down a power station and evacuate nearby properties as a result of the fire at Shields Interiors, a furniture shop on Whitby Street South. The alarm was raised at around 9.20 am on Thursday, although it is not known whether it was fire alarms or an observant passer-by which alerted the fire service to the blaze.
At its height, more than 45 firefighters from across the area arrived to tackle the blaze, which had well taken hold of the top floor of the two-storey building. At one point during the dramatic incident, shop owner Gary Shields ignored any fire safety training lessons he may have learned in the past and attempted to tackle the fire himself. He was reportedly left with singed eyebrows after the attempt.
Once the fire was contained, extinguished and firefighters had finished damping down at the scene, an investigation was launched into the cause of the fire. This investigation is still ongoing.
No one was injured in the fire, but the interior of the shop is believed to have sustained heavy smoke and other damage.