An update has been provided by Blackburn with Darwen Council regarding the fire incident that occurred at Pleasington Crematorium on Thursday, 8th June. The council hopes the Crematorium can reopen in a matter of weeks rather than months.
The following information summarises the key facts known at this stage:
- The fire service responded swiftly and spent approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes at the scene.
- At the time of the fire, a service was taking place, and as a safety measure, the family had to be evacuated and the service was halted. The deceased was safely returned to the funeral home by the funeral directors.
- The understanding and cooperation of the family affected by the incident was acknowledged by the council. Their cremation service costs will be refunded and the council will engage in further discussions regarding compensation.
- One scheduled cremation service for later on Thursday had to be cancelled, and an additional five services planned for Friday were also cancelled. Funeral directors were promptly contacted to inform the families involved.
- All cremation services scheduled for the week commencing 12th June have been cancelled in liaison with local funeral directors.
- The fire is believed to have originated in or near an outdoor storage compound adjacent to the cremation room, which houses the cremator machines. A comprehensive report from the Fire Inspection Officer is expected to provide more details about the fire’s cause.
- It is important to note that neither of the cremator machines was operational at the time of the fire.
- The plant room and the chapel within the crematorium building sustained only smoke damage.
- To ensure security, Heras fencing has been erected around the storage area at the rear of the crematorium.
- The manufacturers of the cremator machinery visited the site on the evening of 8th June and again on 9th June to assess the damage. They are optimistic that both machines can be repaired, and further information regarding the required repairs and the estimated timeframe is awaited.
- Aside from the repairs to the cremator machinery, extensive refurbishment of the cremation room and comprehensive cleaning, including curtains and carpets in the chapel, will be necessary.
- Burials already scheduled are not affected by the incident and will proceed as planned.
Martin Eden, Strategic Director of Environment & Operations, expressed his gratitude for the understanding and cooperation of the affected family.
“Unfortunately a service was taking place as the fire alarm was raised. The family have been absolutely brilliant. They were understandably upset, but very co-operative.
“We’ve had to cancel all of next week’s cremation services, via local funeral directors. We’ve got a great relationship with our funeral directors so they’ve been supporting families and booking cremation facilities in other areas around Blackburn with Darwen.
“Based on the engineer’s inspections last night and today, I am really hopeful that the cremation service will be back up and running in a matter of weeks, rather than months.
“We’ll be in contact with our funeral directors and hopefully we’ll be able to give them a date fairly soon as to when we will reopen.”