Witnesses have described watching on as House of Fraser’s sign caught fire before falling into the street in Nottingham city centre. Fire crews were called to the blaze outside the House of Fraser department store at the Victoria Centre at around 2.30pm on Friday, November 18.
Crews from the West Bridgford, Hucknall, London Road and Carlton fire stations were in attendance, forcing the temporary closure of Mansfield Road. Katie Blatherwick and Emma Thower, both admin workers at Mega Close across the road, said they looked outside to see the stag emblem on fire.
“I turned round and it was on fire, just the deer, then it fell to the floor while still on fire,” said Ms Blatherwick, 28. “I don’t know how it could have happened. All of us were just like, ‘is the deer really on fire?’ It’s one of those things that you’ll never find out why it was on fire.”
The shell of the stag fell off and was seen propped up in the street, leaving the inner structure bare. Naveed Ahmed, who owns Computech in Mansfield Road, said: “I thought it was Christmas lights then saw the police activity. The police were there quickly enough and cleared it as quickly as they could.
“By the time the fire service had got here it [the sign] was on the ground, luckily the police were here to block off the area underneath.” A woman who wished to remain anonymous added: “I saw flames on the ground and thought someone had lit a fire, I saw the stag was alight and was dropping down. I’ve got no idea how it started, it was lit up, but not anymore.”
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was reported “external signage” had caught fire. Nottingham City Transport said some buses were affected because Mansfield Road had been closed near the shopping centre.
The fire service spokesman said no injuries had been reported. A spokesman for the Victoria Centre said the House of Fraser store had been evacuated but the rest of the shopping centre remained opened. “This afternoon, part of the external signage of House of Fraser on Mansfield Road caught on fire. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue attended the scene and extinguished the fire,” he said.
“The incident was dealt with quickly and nobody was injured. House of Fraser was evacuated as a precaution and the rest of the centre remained trading as normal. There has been some disruption to traffic in the surrounding area.” It is unclear how the stag caught fire.