County’s crematorium will reopen in December after blaze closed it in March

Fire crews attend a fire at Cowpen Crematorium in Blyth in March.
Fire crews attend a fire at Cowpen Crematorium in Blyth in March.
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Northumberland’s only crematorium will reopen for services this December, months after it was forced to close following a fire.

Fire crews were called to Cowpen Crematorium on March 12, and the building has been out of service ever since.

Work has been ongoing to rebuild the damage and strip out and re-instal all of the destroyed equipment and wiring.

There is no evidence to suggest that the fire was started deliberately and it is thought the most likely cause was the transfer of heat from machinery and flues into the roof.

Northumberland County Council’s head of neighbourhood services, Paul Jones, said: “Difficulties in securing the timely replacement of a new mains electricity supply have resulted in a slight delay to the repair programme.

“However, we are now well advanced with the re-building works. We have secured a new electrical supply and have commenced testing the cremators and abatement plant.

“It is now envisaged that final testing, commissioning and staff training on the operation of the new plant and equipment will be completed by the end of November 2015 with the crematorium re-opening for services on December 7.”

The restoration work has also seen an increase in the car-parking provision, improved the layout of the facility and have incorporated facilities for funeral director’s staff to utilise while on site.

Mr Jones added: “We are planning to increase the duration of services to 45 minutes in order to improve the service offered to bereaved families and will have staff on hand to talk through the operational arrangements at the site.

“In the meantime, we continue to work closely with our neighbouring local authorities to ensure that bereaved families are able to access crematorium services without any delays.”