THE DEVASTATING fire at a York store last month appears to have been caused by discarded smoking materials within the rear loading area, fire chiefs have revealed.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service said that a joint investigation into the fire at B&M at Clifton Moor on October 13 had concluded that the cause of the fire was not suspicious.

A spokeswoman said:"The fire appears to have started by means of discarded smoking materials within the rear loading area of the store.

"The severe fire was fanned by high winds which spread rapidly through this area and into the adjacent B&M building causing extensive damage.

"The surrounding premises were protected from the excessive heat and spread of fire by the attending fire crews.

"All members of the public and staff from B&M, who were inside the premises, made their way to safety on discovery of the fire and no injuries were reported."

She said the investigation had been conducted jointly with North Yorkshire Police and the insurers.

New River, which owns the site, said that the next steps are to tender for the site clearance. 

A spokesperson for the company said: “Our teams have been continuing to work together as we move through the process and the future for the site.

"The next steps are to tender for the site clearance which will include demolition of the building and returning the site back to a safe and usable condition in due course”.