South East Wales

Visitors tried to put out Penarth Leisure Centre's sauna fire

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Media captionAt the height of the fire, six fire crews were at the leisure centre

Witnesses have told how they saw a fire break out in the sauna of a leisure centre, forcing around 50 people to be evacuated.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service was called to Penarth Leisure Centre, Vale of Glamorgan, at 17:14 GMT on Sunday.

Swimmers had to leave the pool as 35 firefighters tackled the blaze, which was out by around 21:00 GMT.

Eyewitness John O'Connell tried to put out the fire but was forced back when the blaze took hold.

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Media captionPenarth mayor Neil Thomas told BBC Radio Wales he went to the scene as soon as he heard

"We tried to chuck water over it but the whole thing got out of hand and we left," he said.

He had been in the sauna with his friend, Ashley Jones, who added: "We were in the Jacuzzi at the time and one of the guys happened to look at the sauna and said 'that ain't right, is it?'

"And the whole thing just went up in flames."

Penarth mayor Neil Thomas told BBC Radio Wales he went to the scene as soon as he heard about the fire.

"By the time I got there the fire was pretty much out but there was at least six engines from the local area still damping down the embers.

"The damage is all towards the rear where the sauna suite is. As I understand it the fire was limited to the sauna suite, so the hope is the leisure centre will be back up and running as soon as possible."

Crews will return to the site on Monday to investigate how the fire stared.

Image caption John O'Connell and Ashley Jones were in the sauna area when the blaze started

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