EVENING GAZETTE Saturday 5th November 1977
FIRE! 'JINX' FIRM IS BURNED OUT AGAIN
A FIRE JINX which has plagued a Cleveland family business has struck again.
The firm's workshop and warehouse was destroyed by a blaze last night which could be seen throughout East Cleveland.
It took firemen more than two hours to control the fire which destroyed the Old Chapel in Brotton High Street, used by Langbaurgh Textiles.
And today firemen were still standing by while Langbaurgh Council engineers inspected the building. Damage is estimated at well over £10,000.
Cleveland police forensic officers were also at the scene and the possibility of arson has not been ruled out. "We are keeping an open mind," said a spokesman.
Brotton High Street was closed to traffic because of the dangerous state of the building. There was a strong possibility that demolition men would be called in later today.
Mr. Ron Smith, 31 a director of the company, which had carpets, beds and bedding materials in the building, said the fire would have a "devastating" effect on the business he runs with his father Robert and brother Alan.
And it was the third time in the three years the company had been operation that hid been hit by fire.
"It certainly looks like a jinx. It must be fate. What more can i say?"
The First blaze was at its base at West Dyke Road, Redcar, which cost £4000. The second about 18 months ago, cost it £20,000 when its Price Regent Street, Stockton branch was destroyed.
"That was when we moved to Brotton'" he explained. "I've no idea what the cost is this time, but it'll be more than £10,000."
The alarm was raised at bout 6.30 p.m. after the firm's five workers had left. "The place was like an inferno when I arrived," said Mr. Smith. "You could see the flame for miles around."
At the height of the blaze, there were 35 firemen from Guisborough, Loftus, Skelton, Saltburn, Redcar and Middlesbrough fighting it. And as well as six pumps, a hydraulic platform was needed to help control the flames.
Mr. Jack Harrison, a Cleveland Fire Brigade divisional officer, said: "It was very difficult to get inside the building because of all the materials. So we had to tackle the fire form the hydraulic platform."
He added "The roof eventually collapsed and now we have called in the engineers to inspect the walls. We are not happy with them and that's the reason the High Street was closed."