FIREFIGHTERS spent hours battling to bring two major fires under control in Rotherham yesterday to prevent businesses and homes going up in flames.
They were forced to close High Street in the town centre when a blaze broke out above the Eatalian Italian restaurant in the early hours.
Crews were alerted to the blaze at the corner of High Street and Moorgate Street at around 1.45am. At its height there were five fire engines at the scene. Firefighters found the roof engulfed in flames and stopped it spreading to neighbouring businesses, including a travel agents, and homes.
Residents from six flats were evacuated as a precaution and the extent of the damage caused to the roof and first floor of the building made it too dangerous for firefighters to enter so it is not yet known what the upper floors were used for.
Station manager Neil Bough said: “Because of the complex nature and design of the building and the inability to get access to it from the back it was difficult; at first to determine where the fire was coming from.
“The roof space and upper floor was alight and there was some fire damage to the restaurant on the ground floor.”
At the same time emergency services were alerted to another serious fire in Rotherham after a plumber’s workshop, offices and storage facility went up in flames.
The unit on Mangham Road, Parkgate, was found alight at 2.30am and at the height of the blaze another five fire engines were needed.
Firefighters had to cut metal security shutters off to get inside to top the fire spreading. Investigations are under way into how the fires started.