Firefighters finish inquiry into cause of Banbury nursery fire

Firefighters have completed their investigation into the cause of a blaze at a Banbury nursery in the town centre earlier this week.

The cause of the fire at the Smart Tots Day Nursery and Pre-School on the Horse Fair earlier this week has been determined to be an accidental electrical fire.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service completed their investigation and the cause of fire has been ruled as an accidental ignition by an electrical source.

No one was injured in the fire, and a full evacuation was carried out by nursery staff once the fire was detected by their alarm system.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue have ruled the fire at a Banbury town centre nursery to be accidental (photo from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue)

The fire service have praised the nursery for their actions during the fire.

Matthew Chapman, a group manager with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, said: "The business is very well run, they keep good records and the staff’s actions on hearing the alarm to protect themselves and the children in their care is to be commended."

The nursery is expected to reopen tomorrow, Friday December 4, at a new temporary location.

Alec Hodson with Smart Tots said: “There was a fire in one of the roof spaces at Smart Tots late on Tuesday 1st December afternoon. 

"Alerted by the fire alarms, our staff followed the emergency procedures and evacuated all the children and contacted all parents to collect them. The emergency services contained the fire at the top of the building; however, the front section of the house now has water damage and will need repairing before being ready for use again. 

"We can only commend our staff and the emergency services for their calm and very quick response when the alarms went off and are pleased to confirm that no one was hurt in the process of evacuating the building.

"Smart Tots is well established in the local community and has remained open throughout the pandemic, supporting key worker families during the lockdown earlier this year.

"We are very busy organising a temporary nursery to be set up in the Whately Hall Hotel directly across the road from Smart Tots which we look forward to opening for children very soon.  We anticipate being ready to welcome the children under covid-secure procedures from Friday of this week (4th Dec).”

Multiple crews of firefighters responded to the fire around 5pm on Tuesday December 1.

Four fire appliances from the Banbury, Hook Norton and Deddington fire stations, along with a hydraulic platform from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (in Leamington) attended the incident.

Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus rapidly entered the property and extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading to surrounding buildings.

Thames Valley Police also attended and re-routed traffic in order to allow the hydraulic platform to gain closer access to the building. Using this appliance allowed crews in breathing apparatus to gain access to the roof of the property, and confirm that the fire was fully extinguished by using thermal imaging cameras.

Banbury Fire Station Manager Dave Edge said: “This was a significant incident where the fire in the roof quickly took hold.

"I want to praise staff at the nursery for their quick actions in evacuating the children, which of course is the most important priority in a fire like this.

"Although, there is significant damage to the roof, I am very proud of how the crews tackled the blaze and the fact that there was no spread to the neighbouring properties shows how well trained our crews are.”