Newcastle Poster and Print Store Fire

18th December 2015

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Earlier this month a huge fire broke out at poster and print shop, Kard Bar, in the centre of Newcastle. It is reported that the fire started shortly after 8.30am in the four-storey building, leaving one person confirmed dead.

The shop, that previously sold posters, badges, body jewellery, flags, incense sticks, oils, patches and T-shirts, occupied the ground floor of a four-storey building situated on Cross Street in the centre of Newcastle, with the other floors of the property being used as flats.

The Fire

Eye witnesses were shocked to see plumes of smoke and flames coming out of the building’s windows which could be seen right across Newcastle’s city centre. Local shops, buildings and residents were evacuated while over 55 firefighters, 11 fire engines and two aerial ladders tackled the blaze with powerful jets of water.

Despite the best efforts of the fire crews, the fire took the life of the Kard Bar's owner, 81 year-old Brian Sandells.

The Investigation

Although it is reported that the fire broke out in the ground floor shop, no formal investigation has yet been completed. Fire and rescue teams will remain at the scene until the interior of the building has been stabilized and a formal investigation can be carried out.

Due to this being a fatal fire, the Police will work closely with the fire and rescue service to determine the cause.

Fire damage patterns caused by flames along smoke and heat sources will be scrutinised to assess the general area in which the fire started. At this point in the investigation specialists will be able to discover the ignition sources that were present.

The investigation will also include documentation evidence, such as CCTV and witness statements.

Fire alarm and detection systems, if present, can also be used to determine the initial location of the fire, along with a timeline of events.

Due to the severity of the fire it is unknown when the investigation will take place.Once the investigation is complete a report will be put together and submitted to the coroner.

What could be done to prevent the fire?

Until official investigations have been undertaken there is no knowing what, if any, fire safety precautions will have been in place.

There is a legal requirement for suitable fire detection in houses of multiple occupancy, and given that most occupants managed to escape unscathed, it appears that occupants were provided with enough warning of fire and suitable time to evacuate the building.

Unfortunately, however, it is reported that Mr Sandells was in his accommodation on the first floor of the building and was unable to escape.

Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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