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21st October 2010

FIRE IN HIGH TOWN, HEREFORD..................

Around 70 fire fighters and 20 fire engines have been at the site of a fire, which began in the Card Factory in High Town, Hereford, which took hold at around 4.30am this morning and spread to a number of neighbouring shops. The fire is now under control, but the area is likely to remain cordoned off for the remainder of the day.

Four people were evacuated from city centre flats - but nobody has been injured and nobody is reported missing. The Black and White house in the centre of High Town is undamaged. High Town, the Buttermarket, St Owen Street and St Peter's Square however are currently closed.

To help city centre shop workers, Herefordshire Council has opened up the Shire Hall as a gathering centre so workers can get the latest information. Due to the amount of water used on the fire, people may experience low water pressure or slightly discoloured water in the city centre.

The Council is pledging support to local businesses affected by today's fire by helping them find alternative suitable premises. The economic development team is scouring the city to identify potential properties for temporary or permanent occupation, in a drive to get those affected up and running again as quickly as possible. The team encourages premises owners or business managers in need of alternative accommodation to contact them as quickly as possible on 01432 261758.

The team is also investigating how affected businesses will be treated from a business rates perspective. It is hoped that damaged properties can be taken out of business rates until they are ready to be occupied again. The council has also announced it will waive the daily charge for those businesses which would ordinarily have been trading in High Town today but are unable to due to the fire.

The Card Factory in High Town, Hereford a few weeks ago.

High Town, Hereford a few weeks ago.
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