Tyne & Wear

Cowpen Crematorium to reopen in October following blaze

Cowpen Crematorium Image copyright Northumberland County Council
Image caption The council said a new roof should be completed by the end of June

Northumberland's only crematorium which was gutted by fire is to remain closed until October.

The blaze caused significant structural damage to the rear of the building and equipment was badly damaged at Cowpen Crematorium in Blyth on 12 March.

Dozens of planned funerals had to be cancelled and rebooked in Newcastle and North Tyneside.

Northumberland County Council said work was now under way to repair the fire-damaged roof and equipment.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank said: "We appreciate the significant distress and inconvenience this has caused to families and have been working hard to get this facility up and running again as quickly as possible.

"We're continuing to work with neighbouring local authorities and have received excellent support from them to ensure that bereaved families are able to access crematorium services without any delays."

An investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing, but there is no evidence to suggest that the fire was started deliberately, the council said.

The council said early indications show the most likely cause was heat from machinery and flues causing a fire in the roof structure.

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