‘Quick action’ halted store fire from spreading

6:30am Tuesday 26th August 2014

FIREFIGHTERS were yesterday thanked for their “quick and effective action” after a fire broke out at the Holland & Barrett shop in Oxford’s Golden Cross arcade.

Crews from Oxford, Witney and Thame attended the scene off Cornmarket Street at about 4.30pm on Sunday and found thick smoke billowing out of the health food shop. It was gutted in the blaze.

Firefighters left about 90 minutes later and yesterday they were praised by Carfax city councillor Ruthi Brandt.

She said: “I was saddened to hear about the severe fire, which has left the store in such a devastated state. But I would like to thank the fire brigade for their quick and effective action which prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings.

“I was relieved to hear the shop was empty at the time and no one got hurt.”

Incident commander Gary D’Anger said visibility inside had been “virtually zero”.

But firefighters contained the blaze to the ground floor of the shop, preventing its spread to surrounding buildings and the nearby Covered Market.

By 6.08pm the all-clear signal had been made, a spokeswoman for Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service said.

After extinguishing the fire, crews remained at the scene to cut away burnt materials and check the fire had not spread.

The cause of the fire is thought to have been an electrical fault in a freezer unit, the service said.

Yesterday the rest of the arcade was open as normal.

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