On Thursday evening (19 May) a fire broke out in the former Odeon cinema and vacant Evoque nightclub on Church Street in Preston. The building was partly derelict and partly utilised by businesses.
At the height of the incident, 12 fire engines, two aerial ladder platforms and the air support unit responded to the fire, which was prevented from spreading to adjacent properties. Firefighters remain at the incident and are working in conjunction with controlled demolition of the building to extinguish remaining hot spots, conduct searches and make the area safe.
A safety cordon is in place restricting access to the area. We are working with partner agencies to minimise disruption to residents and businesses.
Preston City Council update
Following yesterday’s efforts relating to the emergency demolition works to the rear of the site on Syke Street, we are now able to provide a more detailed update.
The structure to the rear of what was Tokyo Jo’s and the Odeon needs to be removed in part to allow further investigation and surveys to establish the full extent of demolition required. This is ongoing and further updates when established, will be given. All efforts are being made to enable the opening of the businesses that have had to remain closed since Thursday evening and contact will be made with each business as soon as possible.
We are now at a position where we are working towards opening the closure on Church Street to pedestrians and traffic. There will be a new safe cordon in place from the underpass of Old Cock Yard, across the footpath, closing the footpath along to Main Sprit Weind. The bus stop within the cordon will remain closed. This will allow businesses in this newly opened up area to reopen. This is estimated to be in place later this evening. A further update on the time for this will be given in due course.
Avenham Street and the businesses in the area will have to remain closed at the moment for the Fire Service personnel required on site. This is expected to be at least until Monday afternoon. The road closures to Syke Street and Glovers Court will also remain in place until at least Monday afternoon. This does mean that unfortunately the two Avenham Car Parks affected will have to also remain closed. Once this new cordon is in place, the road diversions around Old Vicarage and across the Flag Market will be removed and the normal flow of traffic can resume.
We would like to thank the businesses of Preston and members of the public for their co-operation and understanding during this time. And lastly we would like to thank all our colleagues from the numerous agencies that we have worked alongside since Thursday for all their efforts, in particular LFRS, Lancs Police, NWAS, LCC Highways, Electricity NW and Cadent.
UPDATE FOR RESIDENTS EVACUATED DUE TO FIRE
Following yesterday’s (Saturday) emergency demolition works to the rear of the site on Syke Street, we are now at a point to allow some residents who were evacuated from their homes to return later today. Access to properties in this area remained closed due to the fire escapes decanting on to Main Sprit Weind.
The residents who can return from 5pm, Sunday 22 May are those who live in the properties at the southern end of Glover’s Court, essentially this is all the properties except Buckingham House. Buckingham House residents will NOT be able to get into the property on Sunday. The dangerous structures in this area are in the process of being removed and made safe and a further update will be issued as soon as is possible.
Residents who can return from 5pm Sunday 22 May should present themselves at the Police cordon and they will be given further access instructions. If you know anyone who has been affected by the evacuation of these premises, please pass this message on to them. Thank you for your patience and co-operation. Further updates will be issued as soon as possible, as and when we are able.
FURTHER UPDATE – TRAFFIC DIVERSIONS IN CITY CENTRE
Following confirmation of a new smaller safe compound around the site, our LCC highways colleagues are currently in the process of removing the road closure on Church Street to allow pedestrian and road traffic. The diversion across the flag market and old Vicarage will then also be removed.
The road closures to Syke Street, Avenham Street, Church Street and Glovers Court will remain in place until at least Monday afternoon. This also means that the two Avenham car parks will have to remain closed.
Thank you again for your co-operation and understanding at this time.
For anyone unable to return to their accommodation for safety reasons, call 01772 906412 (before 5pm, Friday) or 01772 906916 for the out of hours service.
Lancashire Police update
Detectives investigating a fire at a former Preston nightclub have made a third arrest.
The fire broke out on Thursday evening (May 19th) in the former Odeon cinema and Evoque nightclub on Church Street. The building was partly derelict and partly used by businesses at the time.
Two 14-year-old boys have already been arrested and released on police bail, pending further enquiries.
And this morning (Sunday) a third person – a 16-year-old boy – was also arrested. He has also been released on police bail, pending further enquiries.
A joint investigation between Lancashire Police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is still very much underway to establish the cause of the fire.
Road closures remain in place around the building and the area is also closed to pedestrians, as emergency demolition work continues. It is expected this will be completed by Monday, May 23rd. For more information visit www.preston.gov.uk or follow @prestoncouncil on Twitter.
Det Insp George Binns, from Preston CID, said: “Three teenage boys have been arrested and all have been bailed while our enquiries continue.
“We are working hard with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blaze and are still asking anybody with information about it to come forward. Perhaps you were in the area at the time and saw something suspicious, or perhaps you have other information that could help us.
“Whatever you know, we would ask you to get in touch as soon as possible.”
Anybody with information is asked to call 101, quoting log 1347 of May 19th.