Hereford & Worcester

Demolition work after Hereford city centre fire

Demolition work
Image caption The top floor of the building has been removed

Demolition work has started on a building severely damaged by fire in a historical part of Hereford.

Card Factory was one of several buildings affected by the blaze on Thursday in the High Town area.

Buildings containing Ann Summers, River Island and Phones 4u were also damaged.

Herefordshire Council said it looked as if there was just smoke damage at 15th Century pub Booth Hall, but it did not know if they had been any water damage.

'Flying debris'

The fire service was called at 0425 BST and the fire was brought under control within eight hours by more than 100 firefighters.

Parts of the city centre were closed, and some shops could not open as planned, but nobody was injured.

The Card Factory building is structurally unsafe and the front section is the only part remaining, the fire service has said.

It explained that "every care" would be taken to protect the front facades of buildings of heritage interest during the demolition.

Bill Bloxsome, conservation manager at Herefordshire Council, agreed that the black and white front to the Phones 4u shop looked in a bad state.

"It does, but it is actually a 1930s replica frontage," he said.

Image caption Firefighters have inspected the back of Booth Hall

"So actually the part of the building that we're more concerned about is the bit at the back and that's really gone."

He added that extra care would have to be taken during the demolition work to look after the Old House.

"We've got some concerns to make sure that it is protected from any flying debris that might happen," he said.

"So [they'll] obviously have to be careful in the way they take down any of the buildings around."

Twenty fire engines were called to the scene and the blaze affected all the floors and roof spaces in the various buildings.

An investigation into its cause has started.

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