A sports shop has reopened for business less than a week after a fire broke out there.
The blaze at Sports Direct at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham on Sunday, October 30, was caused by a faulty light fitting but the clean-up got underway in double quick time.
The Clinton Cards shop was also affected by smoke but that has now also reopened with staff at both stores praising the quick response of the fire service and the “fantastic” support they had from the management security and cleaning teams at Eagles Meadow.
Chris Bellingham, area manager of Sports Direct, was absolutely delighted to have the store back open and trading over the weekend.
He said: “The fire was caused by a faulty light fitting. As we were trading at the time staff and customers were in the building but responded brilliantly. Staff quickly evacuated everyone exactly as they should have done.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the actions of all the staff and proud of the way they dealt with what was potentially a very dangerous situation.
“We began clearing up and emptying the store of damaged stock on the Monday morning and then began cleaning and redecorating the store before restocking.
“We were helped from staff from other Sports Direct stores in what was a brilliant team effort.”
He added: “It was vital we reopened as quickly as possible as we have so many regular and loyal customers who were at the doors asking how long it was going to take to reopen.
“It was equally important we were back open as soon as we could as we also want to support our loyal and hard-working team. They all did a fantastic job.”
According to Claire Vinall, the manager of Clintons Cards the company pulled out all the stops to get the store restocked and back open for shoppers.
She said: “The centre’s security team were superb and got everyone out very quickly. They were so helpful.
“Unfortunately the resulting smoke damage meant we had to throw away a great deal of stock including all our teddy bears and every edible product. We were able to save the odd cellophane wrapped greetings card but just about everything else had to go.
“We had a team come in and replace the whole ceiling and paint and redecorate the shop before we could restock. We then brought in help from our Wigan, Liverpool and Chester stores so we could re-stock as quickly as we could and get the doors back open.”
She added: “Remarkably we were able to re-open on Friday, less than a week after we were forced to close.
“Everyone did a fantastic job from the Eagles Meadow security team to the clean-up crew and the staff that helped restock the shop. I’m really proud of the way we turned things around. It’s been an amazing team effort.”
Eagles Meadow security team members Sarah Powell and Grant Simmons say the actions taken by the team immediately after the fire was first discovered in the Sports Direct store shows the importance of training and fire drill practices.
Sarah said: “It took less than four minutes to evacuate Sports Direct and surrounding stores and the Fire Service responded really quickly. Fire drills are important and when we get a real incident it just shows how important they really are in keeping everyone safe.”
Grant added: “During the evacuation of the shops everyone was so calm and collected and left the shops very quickly and in an orderly fashion. There was no panic and everyone acted really responsibly. As Sarah rightly says it shows the importance of regular fire drills.”
Eagles Meadow manager, Kevin Critchley was delighted to see both Sports Direct and Clinton Cards back open for business so quickly following the fire.
He said: “I was really pleased at the quick response of the Fire Service which ensured the fire was confined to Sports Direct although Clinton cards suffered heavy smoke damage.
“Our security team worked brilliantly to ensure everyone was evacuated quickly and calmly and shop staff and customers reacted to the situation in exactly the right way.”
He added: “It’s hard to believe that both Sports Direct and Clinton cards were able to reopen so quickly after the fire and it is testament to the hard work the staff of each shop put in and the help they received from their respective company shops.
“It’s fantastic to see both shops back open, full of shoppers and trading normally. It’s been an amazing team effort.”