Derby Assembly Rooms car park fire: Venue closes for eight weeks

Fire damage to Assembly Rooms car park
Image caption The fire service said the top level of the car park had been destroyed by the blaze

A Derby venue will be closed for at least eight weeks after a large fire at its multi-storey car park, the city council has said.

The plant room where the blaze started will have to be demolished, said the council.

The fire took more than three hours to bring under control on Friday evening.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, which believes the fire started in air conditioning units, is still investigating the cause.

Image caption Shows at the Assembly Rooms have been cancelled for the next eight weeks

Derby City Council said the site was "structurally unsound", so assessing the full extent of the damage was "a high risk and therefore time-consuming".

The plant room on the top floor of the car park supplied heating, hot water and air conditioning services to the venue.

One of the cancelled performances was by comedian Sarah Millican.

She tweeted: "Sad to say that my 3 shows @derbylive this week will not be going ahead due to the fire. They will be rescheduled. More info soon. Sorry."

Image copyright Simon Chiou
Image caption Thick, black plumes of smoke were visible for hours on Friday evening

The council advised people with tickets to visit the venue's website for details about cancelled shows.

Scheduled Derby Live events in the Guildhall Theatre in Derby Market Place and elsewhere in the city, will go ahead as planned, the council said.

At the fire's height eyewitnesses reported seeing "large, thick, black plumes of smoke". Firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to the Assembly Rooms itself.

Image caption Motorists were unable to collect their cars from the car park until Saturday
Image caption There were no cars on the top level of the car park where the blaze started
Image caption The fire service has been pulling off loose debris that could fall down

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