Wednesday, 19 October 2011
No smoke without fire...
by Joanne Butcher, Evening Chronicle Oct 17 2011
A FORMER Tyneside bar has been severely damaged in a suspected arson attack.
The fire at Buffalo Joe's on Pipewellgate, Gateshead, was discovered by a passing police officer at 4.14am yesterday.
The roof of the two-storey building was well alight, leading to fears that the chimney stack might collapse.
Six fire crews from Newcastle South, Gateshead East and South Tyneside West stations were called to the scene and it took 30 firefighters to bring the blaze under control.
Smoke and flames spread through the building from the roof, causing damage to the first floor. One of the problems the firefighters faced was the height of the building.
Watch manager Jeff Murphy from Gateshead East station said: “It’s one of the biggest fires we’ve had recently. Any time you’re working at height it’s an added problem. We initially had three appliances with the aerial ladder platform so we could attack the fire from a height, then it went to five appliances, with a command support unit.
“We had to force entry into the building to attack it from inside, but also attacked it from outside with the aerial ladder platform and a couple of main jets.”
Pipewellgate side road was closed as a safety precaution, but premises in the surrounding area did not have to be evacuated. A structural engineer from Gateshead Council was called to the scene to assess the building’s stability.
Police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the fire and are appealing for any information.
A police spokesman said: “A passing police officer discovered a fire at Buffalo Joe's at Pipewellgate in Gateshead. The roof of the premises was found to be on fire and six fire appliances attended the scene”
Buffalo Joe’s was opened in 2001 by Harry Costigan, then operations director for Hartlepool-based chain Pubmaster.
Costing £2m to build and furnish, it was the first quayside bar to be open until midnight Monday to Saturday with no admission charge.
The Wild West-themed club was famous for its bucking broncos, cowboy hats and saloon-style bar.
Mr Costigan shut down the original Buffalo Joe’s earlier this year.*
Any witnesses, or anyone with information about the fire, can call police on 03456 043 043 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
*Because it was shit and no-one was going there.
Yet another empty property on the Quayside damaged by a mysterious fire. Just saying...