A fire has destroyed the interior of Salford’s disused Crown Theatre.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service firefighters were called to the grade II-listed building at 4.45am on December 1, and remained until 1.30pm.
The 2,500-seat theatre opened in 1899 as the Lyceum, and was converted into a cinema in 1932, and later a bingo hall. It has been disused for 20 years.
Station manager for fire protection for Bolton and Wigan Chris Roberts said: “Crews have shown resilience and bravery in gaining forced entry to the building in order to most effectively extinguish the flames. I want to praise their commitment and ingenuity.
“All that remains of this building is the brick outer shell. Everything internal – flooring, staircases, balconies and even the roof – has gone.”
The fire burned through five storeys and was extinguished by more than 35 firefighters.
Roberts added: “Local authority building control has attended the scene and confirms there is no risk to the public of any falling masonry from the exterior of the structure.”
Salford Council approved plans for property developer Foregate to convert the building into 82 flats earlier this year, retaining the historic facade as part of the construction.
Theatres Trust national planning adviser Tom Clarke said: “It is regretful that a fire has occurred within the building.
“Unfortunately derelict heritage buildings are vulnerable if they are not appropriately maintained and secured and we wait to see the full extent of the fire damage.”
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.