The boss of a Blackburn business has thanked quick-thinking staff who helped to save 35 minibuses from fire damage at the weekend.

A huge blaze ripped through several industrial units in Blackburn in the early hours of Saturday, February 17 on Lower Hollin Bank Street.

The fire originated in an upholstery unit, which housed sofas and other furniture. A large part of the industrial estate is in ruins and the site has been destroyed.

Workers were there on Monday clearing what they could from the debris.
Nearby, businesses suffered mostly smoke damage.

Among the businesses affected was Dial A Ride which provides travel for pupils with special needs across the borough.

The first day of school following the half-term break could have been ‘disastrous’ said managing director Henry Arnold.

He revealed how the team had 15 minutes to move 35 buses.

Lancashire Telegraph:

An image taken on the night of the fire

He said: “Our night watchman was here and alerted everyone to the fire at around 1.25am.

“He rang me and we were the first people on site and the fire brigade also arrived.

“We had about 15 minutes to get the vans out. If one had gone up then everything would have gone.

“If it hadn't been for the fire brigade it would have been a nightmare. They were brilliant and worked throughout the night to stop the fire from spreading.

“I would like to thank Kirsty from the fire brigade. 

“Ricky from the council was here all night and on Sunday to make sure we were operational for Monday morning.”

Lancashire Telegraph: The fire has destroyed a whole section of the industrial estate

Lancashire Telegraph:

Henry said the business was running normally following the half-term holidays.

He said: “We have 32 vans out on Monday morning and it could have been no vans at all.

“We are the biggest operator in the borough and have worked with the council for many years through Covid.

“We have managed to keep going and keep open and it is all thanks to our staff, the fire brigade, and the council. You have to give credit where it is due.”

Dial A Ride is one of the biggest providers of community transport in the county and has been located at the estate for six years.

He said: “The team were heroes in their own right and if it was not for them we would not have been able to get the buses out.

“Brian and Rob were magnificent.

“Simple as that. We could not have managed to save any of the buses and we didn’t know what could have happened.”

Over the weekend sections of Lower Hollin Bank Street were cordoned off and engineers from Electricity North West and gas provider, Cadent, were also called to the scene. 

Electricity to properties was cut as the road outside the affected building was dug up to ensure all electricity to the site was isolated.

Both Electricity North West and Cadent were still on site on Monday.