A total of 24 firefighters took two hours to put out the fire which spread through the roof space of the Dean Heritage Centre on December 17th, 2009. They had to break through the kitchen to get to the electrical fire which is believed to have caused some damage to the collection and the destruction of a number of irreplaceable items.
Firefighters were called to the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley at about 5 a.m. to tackle the blaze. Artefacts stored on the lower floors are not believed to be damaged. A witness said that the firemen had huge problems smashing into the building because there are bars on the windows due to so many burglaries. They had to use equipment they would normally use on a road accident to cut through the bars to get into the building this morning.
An electrical fault may have been responsible of the fire. Among the items stored in the upper floors were unique mining equipment and records of the Forest’s coal industry, as well as rare books and historic costumes. The museum comprises five galleries exploring the history of the Forest from the ice age to the present day