Dad fears for his family’s safety after building blaze

Blaze on Queen Street, Swinton
Blaze on Queen Street, Swinton

A concerned dad has called for disused buildings to be demolished after a fire broke out - which he says left his home and family at risk.

Mark Goss, aged 41, said his eight-year-old daughter, Katelyn, was left terrified when a disused council block on Queen Street, Swinton, went up in flames.

The dad-of-one, of nearby Charnwood Street, said: “She was very upset. She kept asking me and my wife Donna, aged 40, if we were going to be safe. That was hard to hear.

“It’s so frustrating. These buildings have been empty for years. It’s an open invitation for people to start fires.

“We were not surprised by this at all. We’ve been expecting it to happen because it’s happened before.

“The swimming baths were set on fire about four weeks ago and the council offices were on fire about a week and a half ago.

“The firefighters managed to get it under control that time, but last night the fire took over. It’s completely destroyed now.”

The blaze was discovered at 6.45pm on Sunday.

At it its height there were six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform at the scene.

Firefighters said the building affected was a former Rotherham Council office block.

Mark added: “I think the health centre will be next if something isn’t done.

“The whole lot needs demolishing, but I know the council don’t have the funds to do that at the moment.

“I imagine they will need to bring the council building down now as there’s hardly anything left of it.

“Something bad is going to happen soon if nothing is done. Those buildings are a danger to the public.”

Mark and his neighbours are planning to attend the surgery of Swinton councillors Ken Wyatt and Stuart Sansome tomorrow at 4pm at Swinton Library, Station Street, to ask what can be done to sort the problem.

Coun Wyatt, who was on the scene at the time of the fire, said: “That building was usable, and there had been talks for quite a few months about using it for one of our teams. Nothing had been confirmed, but we were looking at social work services coming from there.

“That decision has been taken away from us now and I am calling for the whole lot to be demolished before it happens again and there is serious injury or worse.”

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

A commissioners’ meeting will be held at 11am tomorrow at Rotherham Town Hall, where members of the public can ask questions.