Garden centre fire in Cardiff

A “substantial” fire that nearly destroyed a garden centre in Cardiff is under investigation.

The “fast-moving” blaze ripped through Blooms Garden Centre in St Mellons on Wednesday at around 22:00 GMT.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service took five hours to put the fire out and has estimated just 30% of the building has been saved.

Cylinders caused a series of small explosions and homes near the site were evacuated.?No one was injured in the fire.

The garden centre had a soft play centre for children and a popular winter wonderland attraction, which was expected to open this weekend.

Brian Thompson, group manager from South Wales Fire and Rescue, told BBC Radio Wales that eight engines and 46 firefighters tackled the blaze, which was fanned by high winds.

The fire was eventually put out at 03:00 GMT on Thursday. The roads surrounding the building have been reopened.

Families living near Blooms were allowed back into their homes in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Mr Thompson said: “The crews and myself were faced with a fairly challenging situation. We had a fast-moving fire in, what appeared to be, the whole of Blooms. The fire was moving towards nearby units and also some houses.”

The fire officer said three properties had to be evacuated.

“I directed my crews’ efforts to, essentially, stopping the fire spreading and stopping other business going up in flames.

“The whole nursery just appeared to be completely engulfed in flames but I believe we saved about 30% of the nursery.”

Crews were hampered by high winds which “pushed the fire throughout the building quite quickly”, Mr Thompson said.

Extra water resources also had to be called in.

“There were some minor explosions during the incident which were probably small cylinders,” he said.

A manager for Blooms arrived at the scene soon after firefighters and was able to tell them where the danger areas were, which included where fireworks were stored.

Photographer Matt Horwood told the BBC: “It was a pretty big fire, it was huge.

“The wind was blowing as well and I think it made the flames bigger… there were people standing round in their pyjamas on the other side of the road.”



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