UPDATED: Fire investigators try to discover cause of blaze at former United Trades Club in Northampton

Fire investigators are today trying to discover the cause of a blaze that gutted the first floor of the former United Trades Club in Northampton.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said they were called at 8.32pm on Tuesday and sent three pumping applicances and one specialist appliance to the building in Balmoral Road.

Picture courtesy of  Siany @Sianaby_K'/Twitter

Picture courtesy of Siany @Sianaby_K'/Twitter

“We received numerous 999 calls to a report of a fire at the disused United Trades Club, Two pumps from Moulton Way were sent to the fire. On arrival crews found flames issuing from the first floor and through the roof of the property, they requested the assistance of a third pump and the attendance of the police for traffic management,” he said.

“A specialist Cobra Intervention Vehicle from Daventry also attended. Cobra is a cutting extinguisher technique which consists of a mixture of water and cutting agent being ejected through a special nozzle on a lance at high pressure to cut very quickly through all known building and construction materials. The method enables the safe combating of fire and fire gases from the outside of the fire location. Because the penetration hole is so small no oxygen is admitted to the fire, which significantly boosts the firefighting effect in the area.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the property to establish that there were no persons involved in the fire and none were found.

“Firefighting operations began to scale down by 9.54pm. Specialist Fire Investigation Officers will attend the scene on Wednesday morning to begin to investigate the cause of the fire.”

In February, the Chron reported that the building was due to be demolished to make way for a housing development of 23 flats and 23 parking spaces.

The plans were first approved in 2008, but the time limit on the application has lapsed, meaning it had to be re-submitted.

The proposal from Babington Property Ltd was re-examined, and approved at a meeting of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee.

The report on the plans said: “The application site is located to the south of Balmoral Road. Kingsthorpe Road runs to the west of the site, which serves one of the main routes into the town centre.

“The site contains a building which has most recently been used as a drinking establishment, although it has been vacant since May 2009.

“It is concluded that despite a number of planning policy changes at national level, the principle of the proposed development remains acceptable.”