A KENDAL business owner has stressed the importance of fire prevention measures after a brand new washer-dryer caught fire at his café after hours.

Brad Muir, owner of Brew Brothers on Highgate, said the appliance was switched-off at the time of the incident.

Mr Muir estimated the cost of the damage to be in the region of £15,000 but, thanks to fire doors and a working fire alarm, it was purely ‘cosmetic’.

Mr Muir said the washer-dryer was new and had only been in place for two months before the incident, and that one of the firefighters who attended the small blaze suspected one of its components had failed.

Mr Muir said on the night of the fire, he went to turn the lights off at the café after they had been left on by mistake, checking on the appliance at the same time.

“I specifically went into the back, where the washer-dryer was, because we’re conscious of it, and it was definitely switched-off,” he said.

Brew Brothers recently resumed full service after two weeks completely closed and a further week without serving food.

Despite having business interruption cover and being insured against damage, Mr Muir said the overall result would still leave him out of pocket.

And he described being even more ‘vigilant’ about fire safety since the blaze.

“Be sure that you’re up to date with your fire compliances,” he said.

“Fire doors, if closed and used properly, can prevent a fire.

“To a certain extent it worries me now. Like at home, when I put on the washing machine and go out, I don’t do that now. I put the washing machine on and watch it.”

After the incident at the café on September 8, Stuart Hook, protection manager at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, stressed that fire doors were ‘the first line of defence’ and could be ‘the difference between life and death’ if ‘fitted, maintained and managed correctly’.

“We would strongly advise all businesses to keep fire doors closed at all times and never be tempted leave them propped open,” he said.