Fire damaged cinema will re-open

A CINEMA boss today vowed to return the fire ravaged Regal Theatre to its former glory, after flames tore through it leaving extensive damage.

A CINEMA boss today vowed to return the fire ravaged Regal Theatre to its former glory, after flames tore through it leaving extensive damage.

Neighbouring residents were forced from their homes in Stowmarket last night after the fire broke out at the Regal theatre and cinema, triggering fears of a gas explosion.

The fire initially started in a yard outside the theatre in Ipswich Street, but spread to the main building at around 10pm.

Six teams of firefighters were drafted in to tackle the blaze, which quickly engulfed the first floor and roof, although no one was inside at the time.

Engineers from gas company Transco were also called to make safe a gas main which was causing a leak after being damaged by the flames.

Police officers, called at about 10.30pm, closed the surrounding roads and ordered the evacuation of nearby homes.

Most Read

Theatre manager David Marsh said it was the worse possible time for something like this to happen, fearing he may lose everything he has worked hard to build up after the theatre was threatened with closure five years ago.

Speaking this morning he said: “Last year after a lot of hard work and a refurbishment two years ago we have been getting 30,000 people and a real feel of community spirit. It is the worst time for this to happen.”

But he said the driving success of the cinema cut down in its prime has made him more determined to fight to re-open.

He said: “Whatever happens we will re-open whatever it takes. There were councillors and the town clerk down there last night and everyone is of the attitude that this is a minor setback and we will get it up and running again.”

He said the true devastation caused by the blaze is not yet known but extensive damage was caused to the roof and rear of the building where a lean-to was totally destroyed.

Mr Marsh was alerted by the intruder alarm after firefighters had to break into the empty building to tackle the blaze.