Major service station re-opens after devastating ‘coffee machine’ fire

Fleet Services fire

A major Welcome Break motorway service station has reopened for business three weeks after a devastating fire that was reportedly caused by a coffee machine.

The south wing of Fleet Services in Hampshire has been shut since December 15 after a blaze broke out in a restaurant at 10.30pm the evening before.

According to BBC reports, an investigation subsequently confirmed the blaze started in a coffee machine.

It previously quoted customer Mark Willis as saying that the extent of the damage was “preventable”, claiming that the fire was initially small enough to have been extinguished “in seconds” with a fire extinguisher.

“It had that very distinct smell of a burning motor,” he said.

Operator Welcome Break has not commented on the cause of the blaze but confirmed this week that some of its facilities are now available at Fleet Southbound, including its toilets, forecourts, Days Inn Hotel and Starbucks Drive-Thru.

Full food facilities are available, via a footbridge, on the Northbound side.

A temporary Starbucks outlet and Harry Ramsden truck is also understood to be opening later this month.

A temporary building will be erected in the truck park in spring to provide full facilities while the new building is built, the BBC said.

More than 100 firefighters from Hampshire and Surrey fought to stop the fire spreading through the building when it caught fire.

No-one was injured in the incident, but around 60% of the building was damaged by fire, with the remainder being affected by smoke.

At the time, Welcome Break chief executive, Rod McKie, said: “The fire has caused extensive damage to Fleet South. Thankfully none of our staff or members of the public at the site have been injured. We are extremely grateful to the firefighters who tackled the blaze and will assist with their investigations.”

IMAGE CREDIT: Hampshire Fire Service

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