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2nd AUGUST 1990
   
SHOCKED SHOPPERS HELD SPELLBOUND BY HUGE BLAZE
   
     
               
   
ARIEL SHOT... OUR PHOTOGRAPHER GETS A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE ACTION BELOW FORM THE ROOF OF WOOLWORTHS .
 

FIRE FIGHT…. A FIREMAN TRAINS HIS HOSE ON THE BLAZING ROOF OF TSB WHILE ANOTHER IN BREATHING APPARATUS CHECKS HANHAM'S ROOF.

       

CROWDS of spellbound people witnessed at first hand the difficult and highly dangerous conditions local firemen work in last week as fire swept through a row of buildings in Ammanford's Quay Street.

Large crowds stood as if glued to the spot as four fire engines arrived on the scene to tackle the blaze which started in Keith Hanham's butcher shop and threatened to spread through the block of four buildings.

Firemen wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the building through the second floor windows despite the intense heat which could be felt from across the road. Smoke appeared to be rising from the roof above Boots the Chemist and TSB either side of Hanham's as well as Dewhurst's butchers at the end of the block.

As police tried to clear onlookers from the immediate area around the blaze, the fire spread and began to take hold in the top storey of the TSB. Flames started to appear between the tiles and within minutes the roof caved in and burning debris fell into the street below trailing smoke behind it. At one point much of Quay Street was shrouded in thick black smoke. Police sealed off the area with tape and closed the street to traffic. But the large crowd stayed to watch as the drama unfolded.

Ambulances stood by in case anyone was trapped or injured as firemen entered the buildings by every possible access. Hoses were trained on the roof from the front and rear of the buildings as fire was finally brought under control almost an and a half after it started.

EVACUATE! NOW BACK TO WORK!

STAFF at Boots the Chemist and the TSB in Ammanford's Quay Street, were back in work last Thursday just a matter of hours after fire had driven them from their posts, The previous day staff had calmly told customers in their respective buildings to leave as quickly as possible as a fire in the butchers shop which separates them threatened to spread.

Boots luckily escaped any serious damage, but despite the absence of a roof and damaged second floor rooms the TSB manager Mr. Eirian Jones set his sights on opening again last Thursday afternoon. He said the only damage upstairs was to the staff room and stationary rooms. Some water had also damaged the main banking area. The banks computers were still working and important material was lost.

Mr. Jones added that it was too early to put an estimate on the damage caused.

STORY:
OWEN
MORGAN

PHOTO:
PETER EVANS

     
             
 

2nd AUGUST 1990

SAVED BY THE GRACE OF GOD

           
   
           
   

OVERCOME…A FIREMAN SHIELDS HIS FACE FROM THE INTENSE HEAT AND THICK SMOKE COMING FROM THE ROOF OF HANHAM'S BUTCHER SHOP.

           
   

BRAVE and swift action by firemen avoided a large explosion in Ammanford's crowded Quay Street during last Wednesday's fire.

As hundreds of people looked on fire chiefs feared that oxygen canisters along with hundreds of aerosol cans stored in Boots the Chemist would explode if the blaze spread into the shop.

Ammanford Sub O Reyland Mathews said: “When we got there we were keen to keep the fire away from Boots. They have got oxygen cylinders there and aerosol sprays, which have all got warnings on them to keep away from fire. “Also we saw the fire was already going into the TSB which is at the end of the row, so we wanted to stop it coming back which would have involved other properties being damaged. Our actions kept the fire away from Boots.” As it was the chemist suffered only slight damage to the roof and Dewhursts escaped virtually free of any damage. Sub O Mathews said the fire fighters was gaining access to the different roof sections which were ablaze As tiles began to cave in on the TSB and Hanham's the situation became even more difficult. “It was very dangerous, but thanks to the grace of God again nobody was injured,” he said. Officers tackling the blaze were clearly exhausted as they emerged from the searing heat inside the building into the hot afternoon sunshine.

“Everyone had had enough by the end, but we have got to mention the local shops who were very good supplying us with cold drinks,” said sub o Mathews.

STORY:
OWEN
MORGAN

PHOTO:
PETER EVANS

 
                 
   

2nd AUGUST 1990

FIRE DRAMA UNFOLDS IN TOWN CENTRE

             
   
             

FIRE FIGHT…. A FIREMAN TRAINS HIS HOSE ON THE BLAZING ROOF OF TSB WHILE ANOTHER IN BREATHING APPARATUS CHECKS HANHAM'S ROOF.

   

FIRE FIGHT…. A FIREMAN TRAINS HIS HOSE ON THE BLAZING ROOF OF TSB WHILE ANOTHER IN BREATHING APPARATUS CHECKS HANHAM'S ROOF.

‘WE'RE STILL GOING ON HOLIDAY'!

KEITH DEFIES FIRE

AMMANFORD butcher Keith Hanham and his family were trying to put the memory of last Wednesday's fire behind them this week as they enjoyed their summer holidays in France.

Mr. Hanham told the Guardian: We had already booked the holiday and when I came home after the fire last week and everyone was sitting there crying, I said “that's it we're still going on holiday.”

When the family returns they hope to find that the business is almost ready to start trading again.

Mr. Hanham said: “I have had a word with the contractor and we're hoping to be open again in three weeks – a month maximum.”

Incredibly the shop escaped damage but an initial estimate for repair work on the rest of the building is over £100,000.

Mr. Hanham was in the shop when a fuse went in one of the fridges, he thought nothing of it until he heard a noise outside.

He went out through the back entrance and saw flames coming from the far end of the flat roof where the refrigerator engines are located.

“We called the fire brigade and I have never seen anything like it they were here in two minutes. They had been down in Carragaman and seen the smoke and were coming to investigate anyway.

“They were outstanding.” said Mr. Hanham. He also thanked everyone for the concern and support they have given him.

“The amount of people who have phoned offering to help has really restored my faith in human nature.

Butchers have offered lorries, trucks, refrigerators. I can't express my thanks enough.”

Although Mr. Hanham lost all his stock in the blaze the shop and building are covered by insurance.

But he spared a thought for Peter O'Rourke who lives in the flat above the shop. “H has been made homeless, I feel sorry for him, the building was insured but not the contents.”

After spotting the fire Mr. Hanham raced upstairs to check whether there was anyone in the flat. “Luckily there wasn't,” he said.

So far the cause of the blaze is unknown. At first it was thought to have started in a refrigerator motor.

STORY:
OWEN
MORGAN

PHOTO:
PETER EVANS

 

2nd AUGUST 1990

NOTHING' LEFT IN THE WORLD WHEN PETER CAME HOME

NOTHING' LEFT IN THE WORLD WHEN PETER CAME HOME

AMMANFORD driving instructor Peter O'Rourke had the shock of his life when he turned into Quay Street on a lesson last Wednesday afternoon to find fire engines pulling up outside his flat.

Mr O'Rourke who lives above Keith Hanham's butchers shop says he lost everything in the fire which threatened to sweep through four businesses. He told the Guardian: “We drove into Quay Street and I saw the fire. The firemen were just pulling out the hoses. Then the roof caved in. “Everything has gone, I have no clothes at all, only what I was wearing on Wednesday and what I have borrowed to wear today.

I have lost irreplaceable items like photographs and videos of my son.” To make matters worse Mr. O'Rourke says he was not covered by insurance. “I thought Mr Hanham's insurance would cover me but it doesn't.” he is now staying with his girlfriend Delyth James, who also lost possessions in the fire, at her mother's home in Lon Beili Glas, G-C-G.

“I don't know what is going to happen now. I am going to go and see the housing people in Ammanford to see if they have got anything.” But while Mr. O'Rourke recovered from the shock of the fire which gutted the flat friends and workmates were already rallying round.

His boss Dave Davies at the Ammanford Academy Driving School in Ammanford told the Guardian that he and local garage owner Ray Thomas would start off a fund for Mr. O'Rourke by each donating a sum of money. Mr Davies said: “ Peter is a local bloke who serves the community by teaching people to drive. He has lost everything, so perhaps the community can help him now. If people are prepared to give something that's great.” The vicar of Ammanford, the Rev Randolph Thomas, said this week that he would be happy to accept the cheque on Mr. O'Rourke's behalf.

“It is very sad that this poor man has lost everything” Mr Thomas added.

STORY:
OWEN
MORGAN

PHOTO:
PETER EVANS

   

 

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