TELEVISION BLACK-OUT AS HEAT MELTS CABLE .
Fire gutted the Garnant Social Center on Saturday in what was described as the worst blaze in the Cwmaman area in recent years.
The center, a zinc roofed wooden building situated on the banks of the River Amman near Cwmaman Park, was destroyed within 45 minutes.
Damage is estimated to be in the region of £2,000 and it is believed that, because of the high fire risk, the building was not insured.
A single-storey building, the center was built about 35 years ago by local unemployed men for recreational and social activities.
Most homes in the area suffered a television black-out as a piped television cable crossing the River Amman was melted by intense eat.
Rediffusion television engineers inspected the damage immediately after the fire, and had a temporary service in operation until the cable was fully repaired the following morning.
Electricity lines running alongside the center were also damaged.
Gas board engineers were called to turn of the mains supply to the center after a series of minor gas explosions sent up 20ft flames above the roof of the building.
The fire was already in command of the 2,000 square-foot building when Ammanford firemen led by Sub-officer R Bush and Assistant Divisional officer D. I. Evans of Llanelly arrived on the scene.
In addition to mains water, firemen pumped water from to river to fight the blaze.
Although the cause of the fire has not been established, one theory is that children playing in the vicinity may have ignited the dry grass.
Included among items destroyed were expensive electric and hand tools, a piano, a large store of crockery, several tables and chairs and a newly-installed gas heating system.
The center was used weekly by local women for classes under a scheme organised by the Council of Social Services for Wales and Mon.
Over the years the center catered for numerous local organisations and functions, such as woodwork classes, jazz band practice, sales of work, cookery demonstrations and whist drives.
Until about three years ago bingo session were held at the center until it was killed by competition form the larger alls in the Amman Valley.
In the past week the Ammanford brigade has dealt with 17 calls, mostly grass fires.