Padiham businessman's vow to rebuild art gallery destroyed in fire

The owner of the Padiham art gallery building, that was destroyed in a huge fire, along with dozens of irreplaceable paintings, has vowed to get the building back up and running as soon as possible.

The devastating aftermath of the fire that tore through the Storm Art Gallery in Padiham.
The devastating aftermath of the fire that tore through the Storm Art Gallery in Padiham.

Mr Peter Rostron, who owns the building which housed the Storm Art Gallery in Burnley Road, Padiham, has also thanked the community for the numerous offers of help and support he has received since the fire ripped through the property almost two weeks ago.

He said: "When something like this happens the people of Padiham really pull together to help each other as a community and I am very grateful for the support I have received.

"Padiham is really on the up at the moment and this is a setback but just like the floods of 2015, we will come back stronger with a new direction."

In this poignant image, paintings destroyed in the blaze have been placed in a skip.

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    The community was left in shock after the blaze ripped through the building which was a popular artists' hub, housing studios, workshops and teaching areas filled with canvases and other precious artwork including glass and pottery pieces.

    Peter, who bought the building last year to add to a collection of several he owns in the town, said many of the artists had been on his doorstep in tears.

    He said: "It was a thriving hub and some artists lost pieces they had been working on for years. They have been left devastated by this.

    "There was also a lot of valuable equipment, such as kilns, destroyed in the blaze."

    Work is progressing today to re-build the Storm Art Gallery.

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    Five fire engines from across Burnley, Padiham, Nelson and Hyndburn were called to premises at 6pm after the blaze broke out on the first floor of the gallery.

    Firefighters spent several hours battling the flames and nearby shops and homes had to be evacuated. No-one was injured in the fire. Roads into Padiham were also closed off to traffic while crews remained at the scene throughout the night.

    Work began almost immediately on the re-build and 63-year-old Peter, who also owns and runs A1 Motors in the town, has paid tribute to Knight Scaffolds and Paul Harrison Roofing who are carrying out the work.

    Peter added: "These are local firms who have stepped in to help and they are working in all conditions and I know they have put off other jobs to help me and they deserve the credit for that."

    Peter, who will have to foot the majority of the repair bill from his own pocket as the insurance premium for the re-building of the property was too low, has warned other business owners not to make the same oversight as he did.

    He said: "The lesson to be learned here is to make sure your premises are correctly insured.

    "This is going to flatten us but we will just have to work a bit harder to pay for it."

    A 52-year-old man, who was arrested in connection to the fire, has been released on bail until Thursday, March 7th, with no charges at this stage, police have confirmed.