Firms wait on fire damage news

NEIGHBOURING firms and a charity have an anxious wait to see if their buildings were damaged by the raging fire.

Shields Interiors is surrounded by other buildings and the blaze saw workers immediately jump into action.

During the drama, workers from nearby Michael O'Connor Furniture helped move gas canisters from Anvil Gates and Railings, which is next door to the fire-hit business, as they can be a danger if they overheat.

Allan Bell, who owns Anvil Gates and Railings, said: "I came out for a bit of fresh air and was met by a load of smoke. One of the first things we did was to get the cylinders out because they're obviously combustible.

"There's an electricity sub-station between the buildings, but then the back end joins of ours joins theirs, so we were obviously a little concerned.

"There's nothing to set fire in that bit though and things seemed to be quickly under control.

"We'll have to wait and see what the damage is like."

Brendan Foster and his fellow workers at Michael O'Connor Furniture, which is further up Whitby Street South, helped moved the gas canisters.

He said: "We were just unloading from the vans when all this black smoke poured out the back of the building. We were worried someone was inside.

"Before we knew it, it had got a lot worse. It's a busy place and there were cars parked outside but they were quickly moved."

Red Dreams, a creativity charity which helps young people in various arts, has its unit only two doors down from Shields Interiors.

Dawn McManus, who runs the charity with husband Ian in memory of their 16-year-old son, Kyle, said: "I haven't been allowed in yet because of the danger, but I want to see what the damage is like.

"They say that the fire shouldn't have spread to our building, but it will be full of smoke. It's going to take a while to air it out and get it back up and running.

"I'm just glad no-one was hurt. Buildings are just buildings at the end of the day and insurance can replace them."