Monday, February 15, 2010

Out of power in Eltham

This afternoon I visited the Eltham Centre to meet Council officers and see the extent of the fire damage. In the picture above you can see the boarded up front doors where the Fire Brigade had to break in, but other than that there is little outward sign of damage. Inside, however, there is a strong smell of smoke, and the Fire Brigade investigators are still working in the blackened room under the stairs where the fire started. It burnt up through the building, but was contained by firewalls and has caused only localised damage to the fabric of the building, unfortunately, that includes a large amount of the electrical systems and cabling. As the officer showing me round put it, it's as though the patient's body is intact, but has suffered crippling internal injuries. Plans to get parts of the centre open again are proceeding, helped by the fact the Library has its own seperate circuits, but until the investigators finish their job it is impossible to put a timescale on reopening. The message I was asked to emphasise is that any speculation about the length of closure is premature at this point: 'We're treating this as an ongoing incident and are not yet at the point of putting in place recovery plans' was the key point. I'll pass on any more information I get, but the Council website will have any further official updates.

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