A huge fire which destroyed a number of art studios and offices is believed to have been caused accidentally, according to the fire service.

The fire broke out about 6pm on Saturday (7) at St Michael’s Trading Estate in Bridport.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said the cause could have been 'an electrical issue or through refracted light on combustible materials.'

Station manager, Sean Blizzard, said: “We believe the cause of this fire was accidental. It could have been caused through an electrical issue or through refracted light on combustible materials, but due to the damage at the premises we do not believe we can pinpoint the exact cause."

Twelve fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms were needed to tackle the fire.

Business owners and artists have told of their devastation.  

Artist Caroline Ireland, who has rented a studio on the second floor for 16 years, said the fire was 'heartbreaking.'

“We all absolutely love the building," she said.

Advice from the fire service includes:

  • Making sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.
  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
  • Remember – one plug per socket. If you need more plugs than there are sockets, use a bar-type fuse adaptor.
  • Unplug appliances at night or when you’re not using them to reduce the risk of fire – unless they are designed to be left on all the time (for example, a fridge or freezer).
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order.

Mr Blizzard added: "I would also ask anyone storing combustible materials to do so safely and in appropriate places – not in direct sunlight.

"Finally, if you are unfortunate enough to experience a fire, please get out, stay out and call 999.”