New Years Eve horror as Christmas decorations in bar catch fire after countdown
About 170 people were forced to evacuate from a bar after a fire was sparked when 'flares' set fire to Christmas decorations after the New Year countdown.
According to some sources, the fire began when the Champagne sparklers ignited helium balloons attached to the basement venue's roof.
Witnesses recounted the terrifying moments when the venue was ablaze just minutes after the new year countdown.
Around 170 revellers were evacuated and two men were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation due to the fire.
One witness told the Manchester Evening News : "There were dozens of balloons decorating the venue's ceiling.
"At midnight the staff brought out sparklers and handed them to people. They were everywhere. The tables below us lifted theirs in the air and the balloons just burst into flames. At the same time people were spraying champagne. It was rapid.
"I saw it and just screamed to run. The whole ceiling was on fire with all the balloons making a popping noise."
The fire is understood to have ripped through the roof of the bar. One witness who was inside the bar claimed staff handed out Champagne flares – sparkler-type props that emit a flame – as the countdown to midnight approached.
Many revellers were holding them up in the air when the balloons ignited.
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It's understood Champagne was sprayed onto the burning balloons in a bid to stop the blaze before a fire extinguisher was used.
Another witness added: "The staff were burning their hands on sparklers because they had too many in their hands."
The development came as the fire service confirmed today it was now working alongside Greater Manchester Police to determine a cause.
An investigation was continuing today.
In a statement released today, a spokesman for One Eight Six said a sparkler 'caught on the Christmas decorations' – and praised the response of the fire service.
The bar said it was 'deeply saddened by this incident'.
A bar spokesman said: “Safety is of the upmost importance to us and we are working with the relevant authorities.”
The fire service said: "The investigation is still ongoing and nothing has been confirmed yet."
But in an updated statement, a spokesperson for GMFRS confirmed Greater Manchester Police were now involved.
The spokesperson said: "Just after midnight on Saturday January 1, fire crews were called to reports of a fire in the basement of a commercial building on Deansgate.
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"Four fire engines from Moss Side, Gorton, Broughton and Manchester Central fire stations quickly attended the incident.
"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reels and a positive pressure ventilation fan to extinguish the fire and clear smoke from the building.
"Around 170 people were evacuated from the premises. Three men were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by North West Ambulance Service, two of whom were later taken to hospital.
"GMFRS crews remain at the scene.
"Fire investigation teams are working with Greater Manchester Police to determine the cause of the fire."
Fire crews, police and paramedics rushed to the scene as the bar on Deansgate was evacuated and a cordon was put in place.
City centre councillor Pat Karney promised a full investigation into the fire.
A spokesman for One Eight Six said: "We can confirm there was unfortunately a fire at One Eight Six last night after a sparkler caught on the Christmas decorations.
"This was dealt with quickly and very efficiently contained by the fire services.
"All guests and staff were evacuated safely with no injuries.
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"The damage is limited to the main bar with all other areas of the building unaffected.
"We are deeply saddened by this incident but will be sure to bounce back and look forward to welcoming back customers new and old."
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