WORKS GUTTED BY FIRE
Colour television sets, many in the process of manufacture, were destroyed when fire ravaged the Capital Works in Llandeilo Road, Cross Hands, in the early hours of Monday Morning.
Also put in jeopardy by the blaze was an export programme worth almost £2m.
The sets were in process of assembly at the works of Specula Electronics, which is owned and run by former Llandybie man, Mr. James Burns.
Llanelli police are now investigating the circumstances in which the building – the old Capitol Cinema – was gutted.
Only the walls are left standing.
Mr. Burns told me from is Llangunnor home tat the blaze ad cost is firm about £20,000 in plant and equipment alone, without adding the value of the building.
The fire was extensive and took hours to be brought under control. But firemen prevented it spreading to adjoining premises.
Fire engines were brought from Llanelli, Carmarthen, Tumble, and Ammanford, and were directed by chief fire officer, Mr. G. D. Walsh, and Mr. G. A. Hillman, assistant divisional officer at Llanelli.
Mr. Burns, who had visited the premises during the previous morning (Sunday), has since been confined to his home by illness.
“Everything was satisfactory when I left,” he said.
Mr. Burns also revealed that an employee had paid a brief visit to the works on Sunday evening before leaving for Southend to collect equipment.
“He also said the there seemed nothing our of place when he left,” added Mr. Burns.
In the process of assembly were colour television sets for the export market. The firm was dealing with customers in Kuwait, Brunei and Switzerland in a £1.8m order.
Also on the verge of negotiations was a contract with an Australian concern for delivery of 500 sets a month, said mr. Burns.
Mr. Burns added that the fire had occurred at a very bad time for his firm.
“We had just started on an extension scheme because of our export orders, and the Department of Trade and industry had offered us additional premises in Cardigan in order to develop,” he said.
Mr. Burns also revealed that the firm's workforce of 16 had now been laid off.
His wife Lillian said: “We are deeply shocked and distressed at the loss, but it is a blessing that nobody was hurt and that the neighbouring properties were not affected.”
This was my first big fire. I was on night shift in Llanelli fire station. When we came down the hill from Tumble we could see the flames through the roof.
I was with Ray Evans (Icky) an old hand, he was my mentor for that night. Branches charged, we went in. It was like a show. All the place was alight but there was no smoke. One could see the old ornate decor of the cinema in all its worn and colourful glory, but with flames leaping from them.
I was nervous. I'd never seen so much flames. "Look up", says Ray. I looked up and all I could see was stars.
"The roof has gone in this part, the roof beams are in place so the walls won't collapse, always check above you, come on lets start knocking these flames back", he said, I still remember those words to this day.
The whole show was surreal. I learned a lot that night. I thank the old gents, they taught me a lot. I used it often, their knowledge brought me to my retirement. God bless you all.