23 Aug 2019
June 14, 2011 - Filed under: Antiques News — Harriet

Florida may seem a long way from the Ribble Valley, where antique balloon backed dining chairs are more likely to be accompanied by the chink of teacups than fire engines, but spare a thought for the Knot on Main Street – a popular antiques mall in Dunedin, Florida – which was destroyed by fire last week.

Florida is currently in the midst of a heatwave, basking in temperatures of around 32 degrees C. Good news for the day-trippers heading for the beaches of Tampa Bay, but not so good for antique dealers forced to keep the air-conditioning on full blast to protect valuable antique bookcases and Victorian balloon back dining chairs .

In Cumbria, residents are just keying up for their annual holidays, but at the Keys it’s the season for muggy high temperatures and thunderstorms. With a higher-than-average chance of electrical storms and fanned by high winds, these were exactly the right conditions Knot on Main Street needed. A massive antiques emporium on Bayshore Boulevard, close to the Royal Yacht Club Resort, all it needed was a flash spark to create a conflagration. Emergency crews arrived from across the county; but challenged by tinder-box conditions and an ample supply of fuel, the Antique Oak Pedestal Desks and Victorian dining chairs were quickly reduced to firewood. Up to 80 traders lost their livelihoods.

Flash fires and electrical faults; these things can happen, even in Cumbria, and a Victorian mahogany partners desk makes excellent fuel. Lancashire antique dealers and buyers alike should always make sure they have good fire insurance – and an adequate escape plan for emergencies.

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