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Discarded cigarette blamed for fire at flooring and furniture store

LancFRA Preston flooring and furniture retailer has vowed to re-open after a fire, thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette, caused severe damage to the store.

Five fire engines from Lancashire Fire and Rescue were called to the Grade II Listed premises of PC Carpets and Beds, on Lune Street, Preston on Saturday evening.

'Flames were issuing from the ground floor and smoke was issuing out of all floors and the roof. The damage is severe by heat to the staircase on the ground floor, first floor and second floor, severe by smoke to the showroom and all floors and all of the stock has been damaged by smoke. Due to the early intervention of breathing apparatus crews we managed to stop it escalating through the rest of the building. The early indications are we think it's been started by a carelessly discarded cigarette on the ground floor,' says Mark Evans, Lancashire Fire and Rescue crew manager.

The company, founded by Craig Halsall and Steve Connor, has a second store in the city. In a statement it said it planned to reopen the Lune Street branch within days.

'As you may have heard we've had a small fire at our Lune Street store. The fire was contained in the service stairs at the back of the building. Happily no one was hurt and our internal fire doors did their job. The ground floor showroom is fine and the floors upstairs are also intact. We would like to thank the emergency services for doing an excellent job and limiting the effects of the fire. The store is open but the top two floors are closed at the moment, we're still cleaning up, nothing but a bit of polish and elbow grease can't fix. We would also like to thank the community of Preston and local businesses for all their support and many well wishes, without this we couldn't continue. To our loyal customers, its business as usual, just give us a couple of days and the showrooms will be open as normal. We will be having a clearance sale for any items affected by the smoke but is perfectly saleable, shortly.'