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6th NOVEMBER 1969
Portacabin at Shands Blaenau, well alight
Damping down the Portacabin at Shands Blaenau, well alight

Employees watch £7,000 and records of two-and-a-half years work go up in a blazing inferno.

It was an untimely bonfire night for these Ammanford firemen who worked for four-and-a-half hours through the night last Thursday and Frinday morning

£7,000 damage: water shortage problem: man jumps form burning house

A shortage of water due to the dry weather hampered firemen fighting a 45 minute battle to control a fire which gutted two timber and glass administrative buildings at Shand's opencast site in Blaenau road, Llandybie, late Thursday night.

One appliance from Ammanford was called out at 8.35 p.m. after the brigade had returned from a fire in Walter road, Ammanford. It used water from the mains supply.

A second appliance which arrived 10 minutes later had to use water from a nearby river because of the shortage.

Damaged estimated at £7,000 was caused by the fire, which was described by a brigade spokesman as one of the hottest he had attended.

An appliance was saved from going up in flames by directing a jet on to it.

There was a danger of nearby buildings being set alight, but with great difficulty, damage to these was reduced to scorching.

Firemen who were on the site for four-and-a-half hours had to cover their faces to protect themselves against intense heat.

Night watchman Mr. B. F. Howells, Blaenau-road, Llandybie, saw the fire in the building first.

He opened the door and, as soon as air got in, the building erupted into a mass of flames, Mr. F. B. Perkins, office manager told the “Guardian”.

Employees tried to fight the blaze with portable fire extinguishers, but Ammanford brigade was called in when they failed to bring it under control, a brigade spokesman said.

When the first appliance arrived the building was “well alight”.

Records to two-and-a-half years work, engineers' drawings and a telex installation were destroyed, but work at the site was not interfered with. Some files were salvaged.

Money and insurance cards in a metal safe were also saved.

Mr. Perkins added that the office staff would be involved in an enormous amount of work as a result of the blaze.

He said two new offices were being sent to the site.

It was a grim prelude to Bonfire Night that, during the past week, Ammanford fire brigade was called out to three other fires.

Before being called to Llandybie one appliance crew fought a blaze in the basement of 75 Walter-road, Ammanford, where waste material stored for bonfire night caught fire. Damage was slight.

Forty-year-old Mr. Terry Spain, assigned to night shifts at his work, was in bed when a fire broke out in the kitchen at 7 Heol-y-Deri, Cwmgwilli.

He jumped from the first floor window and sustained slight injuries to his arm.

Fire was confined to the kitchen by neighbours using a garden hose. The room was ruined and heat and smoke caused damage to the staircase.

One appliance from Ammanford was called out.

Fire-fighting equipment had to be carried three-quarter of a mile to extinguish a tractor, property of B.I.C. Cables at Clyn Farm, Betws. The machines was severely damaged.

Well, who needs bonfire night now?



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