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Cost of damage caused at outlet in Grimsby could run into thousands of pounds after blaze was sparked yesterday afternoon. Read full story here and watch a video of the scene.
Firefighters were called to the scene in Alexandra Retail Park, at around 4pm yesterday afternoon. A communications officer for Humberside Fire and Rescue told DIY Week that 12 appliances were involved in the incident, including two hydraulic platforms and three thermal image cameras. Fire crews pumped water from Alexandra Dock to help dampen flames.
The blaze, which started when shoppers and staff were still inside the building, took several hours to put out, with the last firefighting appliance leaving the scene after 9pm last night.
The cause of the fire is unknown. Humberside Fire and Rescue is currently investigating but is unable to go into too much detail at this stage. "A fire investigation officer is down there at the moment. That is all we know... It will take as long as it takes," explained the communications officer.
A report by The Grimsby Telegraph suggested that damage caused to the building - even by smoke alone - could run into thousands of pounds, while the BBC reported that, while "significant" damage had been done to the retailer's stock, fire crews had managed to prevent major damage to the building.
Speculation is still rife about the cause of the fire, with Humberside and rescue suggesting the timing was "unusual", as most building fires are caused by electrical faults and occur in the middle of the night. Witnesses talking to The Grimsby Telegraph believed the blaze was started by shoplifters attempting to burn security tags off items in the changing rooms.
Matalan said that it is "working with the fire authorities to understand how this happened." The retailer added: "Unfortunately, we cannot answer any questions until we know more pending the full investigation."
Witnesses described thick, black smoke at the scene, with a number of residents out on the streets watching the drama unfold. Several videos of the blaze were also filmed by locals and posted on video sharing website You Tube, including the time-lapsed film featured above.