Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 14:42 UK

Fire causes chaos in city centre


Eye witnesses took these videos of the fire on Tuesday lunchtime

Firefighters have tackled a pub blaze which has led to a department store and a city centre market being evacuated.

Howells store, other shops and Cardiff market were evacuated after the blaze severely damaged O'Neill's pub in Trinity Street, Cardiff.

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen at about 1150 BST before the pub opened for business.

South Wales Fire and Rescue said the roof had been destroyed but they had managed to stop flames spreading.

One street - a small part of Trinity Street directly infront of the pub - remained blocked off on Wednesday.

South Wales Police said the blaze was not thought to be suspicious.

At its height around 50 firefighters and 10 fire officers were at the scene.

Firefighters managed to enter the building later in the afternoon to damp down and scaled down the incident.

On Tuesday afternoon an area around Trinity Street had to be cordoned off and Church Street was also closed.

Fire-fighters at scene. Photo: Nia Davies
The fire broke out in O'Neills

The pub was evacuated after the owner smashed a fire alarm.

A worker from the Cornish Bakehouse a couple of doors down from the pub said the shop was evacuated at around 1250 BST.

She said: "We could see flames coming out of the windows and roof. It seemed to be spreading across the building from left to right.

"(At) the Italian restaurant next door, the upstairs looks like it had caught fire. We don't know if there was any living accommodation upstairs.

"It seemed really tame to start with. It took them ages to start pumping out water. We could not see much because of the smoke, " the worker added.

Brian Morgan, a butcher in Cardiff market, said: "I saw flames 20ft high coming from the top of O'Neills.

The fire at O'Neill's pub in the centre of Cardiff

"It was a pan fire. It got into the ducts. There was grease in there and then the roof went up. The roof has gone now."

Under control

John Adams, owner of Ashton fishmongers in the market, said: "We were obviously worried in case it spread to the market. It seems to be under control now.

"It has cost us almost a day's trading. We don't know the amount of stock that will be damaged but it could be between 5,000 and 10,000.

"There was a lot of acrid smoke, as if there was plastic burning.

"It was uncomfortable. People who have respiratory problems, it could have been dangerous for them I think that was one of the reasons why they evacuated the market."

Yadgar Abdulla, a greengrocer in the market, said there was no indication when they would be allowed to trade again.

"We were allowed in for 10 to 15 minutes to cash up and close our stalls.

"But the problem we have is that we think a lot of our stock might have been damaged. Trading wise we have probably lost between 600 and 700 today but overall it could be as much as 1,000 or 1,200 lost.

"But the most important thing is that no-one was injured, " said Mr Abdullah.

In a statement for O'Neills, the company said: "A fire was detected prior to the pub opening for trading.

"Our evacuation procedures were followed and those present on site were evacuated safely. No injuries were sustained to staff and there were no customers on site at the time."

The firm said the cause of the blaze had not been established but it was working with the fire service.

The Victorian building has been a pub for many years and used to be known by the name the New Market Hotel.

Film star Olivia Newton John's father Brinley was born in the pub and the actress visited it recently as she traced her family tree.

Thank you for your pictures and comments about the fire.

Your views:

Went for a walk at lunch time to Borders book store to get a book, saw all the staff milling about outside.Went further up to Waterstones and saw the same thing.The cloud of smoke then gave the situation away, but i think the staff in Borders a good 300+ metres away are having a slighty to cheeky fag break. Annoyingly havent got my book.Hope nobodies been hurt.
chris l, cardiff

It took us a while to realise there was a fire blazing down the street. The Hayes is constantly full of smoke and debris at the moment with all the construction work going on opposite us..
ashli todd, cardiff

I work in a marketing company about 100 metres from the fire, and we were all evacuated, and the smoke was unbearable and stang our eyes.
hannah michaels, cardiff, wales

Smoke. Photo: Lee Carstenfen
Smoke filled the air in Cardiff city centre. Taken by office worker Lee Carstenfen after he was evacuated.

We're in the cinema a couple of streets away and can still smell the smoke inside the auditoriums.
Emma, Cardiff

...and there was I looking forward to bangers and mash at O'Neills this afternoon
Robin Friday, Cardiff, Wales

Is the pet shop in Cardiff market ok? I hope the animals have all been evactuated and nobody forgot them!
Ernie J, Cardiff, Wales

Sat in work literally 100 meteres away from O'Neils and went to walk to town for lunch and saw the smoke pourng out of the windows of'neils, didnt expect to see that, hope everyone is fine but put a bit of excitement into a sleepy cardiff day.
Alex, Cardiff

Is the pasty shop ok?

I loved that pub What a shame
Ywain Shakespeare, Cardiff

what a shame this friendly lovely well staffed pub has burnt down, i have been drinking here since 1985 it has changed names a few times. The staff are always friendly and smiling give my regards to all who worked there, so sorry to see a pub like this destroyed.
michael truman, cardiff

I got caught in the smoke so bad during my lunchbreak, it choked my throat and burned my eyes ... when I returned to work, everyone told me how badly I smelt because of the smoke, so I had to go and buy a new shirt ... gutted!
Gareth, Cardiff

the smell was horrible and the smoke was like fog.there was no roof on o'neills and fire men was trying to blow the fire out but im glad no one was hurt.the fire nearly burned the market and im glad it didnt thank god every one was ok
gemma leigh mccarthy, cardiff wales

video and audio news
The roof of the pub was destroyed in the fire

Cardiff pub fire
03 Jun 08 |  In Pictures

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