120 evacuated after Leisure Centre fire

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

120 evacuated after Leisure Centre fire thumbnailThe scene of a fire outbreak at Cookstown Leisure Centre.

OVER 100 people were evacuated from Cookstown Leisure Centre following a fire at the complex.

The fire broke out in a heating system area at the Centre shortly after 5.30pm on Wednesday last and considerable damage was caused to the area.

Two appliances from Cookstown Fire Station attended the scene and firefighters fought the blaze for almost six hours.

A spokesperson for the Fire Service told the Courier: "NIFS received a call at 5.43pm on Wednesday 2nd November.

"Two appliances from Cookstown Fire Station attended the scene and firefighters dealt with a fire involving between eight and 10 tonnes of wood pellets.

"The Leisure Centre was evacuated as a precautionary measure and the incident was dealt with at 11.24pm."

Mid-Ulster District Council, which runs the Leisure Centre complex at Fountain Road, said the fire appeared to have started in the biomass heating system, although the cause at this point is unknown.

All customers and staff were safely evacuated.

The Council, in a statement to the Courier, said maintenance staff were aware of some smoke in the chamber of the heating system from early afternoon last Wednesday.

Stated the Council: "As this occurs from time to time, maintenance staff monitored the situation. When, by 5.30pm, it became clear that the smoke was not dissipating, staff called the Fire Service and the Centre was evacuated."

According to the Council, staff immediately followed the evacuation procedure and all customers and employees were moved from the building.

Approximately 120 customers and 12 staff on duty were evacuated.

Continued the Council in its statement: "As the fire was limited to the hopper at the rear of the site, there was no damage to the centre itself.

The Leisure Centre was operating normally on Thursday morning.

Added the Council: "The Centre opened at the later time of 10am to allow sufficient time for staff to prepare the Centre after the evacuation."

Investigations are continuing into the blaze, but the Fire Service said the cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.


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