Large fire at Walkabout bar in Blackpool leaves staff homeless

Firefighters working at the Walkabout in Blackpool
Image caption The bar is close to Blackpool's Promenade

A large fire at a bar in Blackpool has left 12 live-in staff homeless.

Up to 90 firefighters worked for several hours to control the fire at Walkabout on Queen Street, which started at about 05:30 BST.

Walkabout spokesman Matt de Leon said staff had "safely evacuated" after the fire alarm sounded, but had "lost many of their possessions".

Roads around the fire, which were closed while the blaze was brought under control, have reopened.

Richard Edney, Lancashire Fire Service spokesman, said there had been a "lot of smoke" coming from the fire.

He said there were "over 30 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, which is quite rare, and it's due to the size of the three-storey building".

Mr de Leon said the bar chain had arranged for the staff to stay in a hotel and was hoping to "find new homes and jobs for them at other Walkabout venues in the UK within the next 24 hours".

"We are also helping them with their personal insurance claims and paperwork, including passports, and have arranged for a counsellor to be on hand for them should they wish to speak to one."

He said that the company was "also trying to find roles for non-live-in staff at our other venues."

He added that the extent of the damage to the building and the cause of the fire were still unknown.

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