Derelict building fire closes Northampton town centre

Much of Northampton’s town centre was closed on 31 May 2024, after a “large-scale” fire broke out at a derelict building.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was alerted to the blaze at the former Fat Cats bar in the early morning, with seven fire appliances dispatched to the scene.

As reported by BBC News, a 500-metre cordon was put in place while firefighters worked to tackle the flames and stop them spreading, resulting in several major routes being closed. Officers from Northamptonshire Police and West Northamptonshire Council were also on hand to support the emergency efforts, and road users were requested to find alternative routes.

Due to the high levels of smoke surrounding the area, locals were asked to stay inside and keep the windows closed. Shortly after 9 am, crews confirmed that the fire had been brought under control but added that they would remain at the scene for much of the day.

Simon Tuhill, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for NFRS said: “When the crews turned up, it was a significantly developing incident. At its height, we had seven of our fire engines here and two aerial appliances, which enabled us to put water on to the building from above.”

We’ve worked really closely with Northants Police colleagues to reduce the impact and the footprint of the road closures.

However, of course, we need to make sure we look after both the firefighters’ safety and access for our fire engines and, of course, keeping the public a safe distance from the incident.

As you can see, we are in the dampening down phase, which means we’re confident the fire’s not going to spread, but we will be here for a good few hours yet making sure that no hotspots remain.”

Speaking about the impact of the fire on surrounding businesses, he added: “We know that we’ve had several incidents here over the last few years, and we are really keen to work with local businesses and the local authority to minimise the impact.”

NFRS later thanked local businesses and residents for their cooperation and patience during the incident:

The Fire Service believes the most likely cause was deliberate ignition, however, investigations remain ongoing.”


(Photograph by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service)