A luxury spa based inside Debenhams’ flagship store in Manchester city centre has been told to tighten up its fire safety policies after a blaze involving two tumble dryers led to an emergency evacuation according to Manchester Evening News.
Shoppers were told to leave the Market Street department store as firefighters raced to the scene.
The blaze, which is now being treated as accidental, broke out in Spa Urban Oasis on the mezzanine floor. It was quickly extinguished but Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has now told the owners to ‘revisit’ the spa’s Fire Risk Assessment.
The brigade said the dryers had been positioned along a ‘means of escape’, but weren’t blocking the route, which has now been cleared. It’s understood that the spa businesses sublets the area in the department store.
Area manager Warren Pickstone, head of protection at GMFRS, said investigations have ruled the fire was accidental.
He said: “It is believed the fire started in a domestic tumble dryer that was being used by the spa. We are not investigating or prosecuting Debenhams. As is standard procedure with any business premises that has a fire, we have asked the occupiers of the building to revisit its Fire Risk Assessment. We will then work with them to come to ensure the business is as safe as possible.”
The drama at around 3.45pm on Sunday led to the full evacuation of Debenhams. The fire was put out by 4.10pm, but crews remained on the scene searching the other four floors of the building as a precaution.
Mr Pickstone said no fire doors were padlocked and most were fitted with standard plastic security seals, which can be easily broken.
“The two tumble dryers that were involved were not in front of a fire exit, however, they were somewhere we would expect to be kept clear,” he said. “The route has since been cleared.”
“We are not aware of how they caught fire,” they said. “We have been operating successfully for 12 years now and have never had an incident like this. We do take health and safety in the spa very seriously and we are currently working with Debenhams and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to prevent this happening again.”