Fire at Angel Radio in Havant puts station off air

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A POPULAR community radio station will be off air for at least a month after a serious electrical fire.

The blaze broke out shortly after 7am today at the offices of Angel Radio in Market Parade, Havant.

The blaze started in a light fitting in the ceiling over the reception desk.

Many vintage shellac records were destroyed or damaged, as well as mixers and radio equipment.

All the radio station’s awards - including the prestigious Queen’s Award and The News’ We Can Do It Award - were destroyed.

The entire building has been smoke-damaged and will be out of action for at least a month.

Tony Smith, station manager, got into work at about 6.50am and was working in another room when he heard some loud noises.

He said he opened the door to find a ‘pillar of flames’ from ceiling to floor.

Tony said: ‘I heard a noise and at first did not take much notice, I thought the receptionist was in early.

‘I went out and the place was in flames.

‘Because the firefighters are based in Havant town centre, they were there in five minutes.

‘There is smoke damage through the whole building.’

Firefighters said another 10 minutes and the entire building would have been ablaze.

Speaking from the scene this morning, Tony, who is still covered in soot, said: ‘I’m in shock at the moment.

‘Probably some time tomorrow there will be a feeling of devastation.

‘I feel sorry for all the people who rely on us.’

The station is run by an army of volunteers and provides nostalgic music to tens of thousands of listeners, mainly pensioners, across the Havant and Portsmouth areas.

Tony said the blaze had caused at least £10,000-worth of damage.

But he said the station, in operation since 1999, was determined to bounce back and insurance would cover the damage.