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Fire Service helps save priceless property at York Minster Fire

31st December 2009

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) was called to a report of smoke coming from a building at York Minster Stonemasons Yard, Minster Gate, York at 23.24hrs on the evening of 30th December.

The officer in charge of the first Fire appliances to arrive quickly realised the potentially serious nature of the incident and requested assistance. In all, over 30 fire-fighters and officers on 6 fire appliances and an aerial ladder platform attended from York, Acomb, Huntington, Tadcaster, Selby and Easingwold fire stations.

Group Manager Dave McCabe, who was in overall charge of the incident, described how firefighters tackled the blaze and helped remove valuable property to safety.

He said; “ Firefighting operations were carried out in 2 distinct areas. Several firefighters were working on the upper floors of the property locating and extinguishing the fire whilst other teams of fire fighters worked under the guidance of Minster staff to identify and remove valuable property to a safe area. One such artefact was a large stained glass window of immense historic interest and indeed priceless. It was undergoing restoration as part of a £27 million 10 year programme. Through sheer hard work, and with knowledge gained from pre planning, we were able to prevent serious damage to this and other valuable items”.

The fire was brought under control at approximately 02.00hrs early on 31st Dec.

The cause of the fire is now being investigated by NYFRS along with members of the Minster staff.

The Dean of York Minster, The Very Reverend Keith Jones, said: “The fire at the York Minster Stoneyard is now being assessed.  Our first concern, after being sure that no people were in danger, was for the precious things in store there.  Thanks to prompt action by our staff who worked with the Fire Brigade, that is safe.

In a few days, we shall know more about the cause and the consequences of the incident.”

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