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Latest News After Devastating Fire Breaks Out At The Bureau

10th April 2019

Categories: Town Centre News

This is an extremely difficult newsletter to write and we are sorry to be bringing you such terrible news.

Many of you will be aware that a devastating fire ripped through The Bureau in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The 230 year old St John's building, along with most of its contents, was gutted in the fire which was eventually brought under control by a crew of around 70 fire fighters from across the county.

We are relieved to tell you that there were no injuries. We were told almost immediately that the fire is believed to be electrical, starting in the cafe kitchen, and that there are no suspicious circumstances. We are working closely with the investigation team to ensure they have all the information they need.

Whilst much of the interior of the building has been reduced to charred timbers, the structure is believed to be solid and the tower survived intact. The process of making the building safe, investigations and insurance will be lengthy.

St John's had been our home for four years. We loved the building and its history and were proud to continue to run it as a place for the people of Blackburn (and beyond) to come together.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and help that we have received since the fire, and in our darkest moments the messages and the people who turned up to help us, hug us or bring brews for everyone, have kept us going. The building may have gone (for now) but our heart is still beating strong and we are determined to keep the spirit of The Bureau alive.

The Making Rooms have kindly given us an office and both The Bureau and Blackburn Festival of Light are based in that room as we work out what happens next.

We have been working closely with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council (who have been by our side throughout) and other partners and hope to have some positive news about a new space next week.

The events this week have shown us that The Bureau is more than bricks and mortar, it is a strong and caring community, and that community has come together this week to provide practical, emotional and financial support.

We will keep going!

We intend to honour as many of the commitments we have as possible. They may not be in one building and you may find the Bureau in a library, a park or a community centre, but will still be The Bureau.

Bear with us! It's going to be tough over the coming months (and possibly years) and we need you more than ever to support us by coming to events and workshops, sharing information and booking our space (wherever that may be).

If you would like to help us immediately you can

•             Contribute to the crowdfunding campaign. We have lost almost everything and are having to start again. We have just (Sunday afternoon) passed the £5000 target, but please, if you can, keep giving. We are going to put every penny to good use.

•             Vote for Blackburn Festival of Light in the People's Projects The festival, which was also based in the building, is planning two parade projects this year and your vote can help them to achieve their dream and receive the funding to do that. 

On Thursday evening a group of directors, artists and volunteers took part in a live broadcast at BBC Lancashire between 8pm and 10pm. The broadcast had been planned for weeks and was due to take place at The Bureau, but after the fire we relocated to the studio. Tired, sad and smelling of smoke, none of us were really on form, but it was a really cathartic experience and we are so glad that we did it.

Finally, we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the fire crews who worked with courage and skill to save as much of the building as possible for us and the town. They worked with good humour and went above and beyond what was expected of them. They are our heroes.

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