Computer 'screen freeze' blamed for Magpie fire delay

The Magpie on fire. Picture by Ceri Oakes.
The Magpie on fire. Picture by Ceri Oakes.

The fire service has blamed a "screen freeze" and a "high degree of pressure to react to the volume of calls" for a seven minute delay in dispatching crews to the Magpie blaze.

As calls flooded in to report that the world-famous eaterie was on fire, two control operators saw their screens go out of action, which led to a seven minute delay in dispatching crews to the incident in May 2017.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire Service told the Gazette: "The temporary screen freeze meant that the dispatch of fire engines and other resources was initially unsuccessful. The Control operators quickly identified that there had been a problem and dispatched the required resources, however this led to a delay of seven minutes."

They added that steps have since been taken to ensure that this doesn't happen again: "It is important to note that, since this incident, the problem has not reoccurred. We have worked closely with Capita who have successfully implemented changes to stop individual screens from freezing in the future and we continue to work with them as a matter of routine to ensure that the system is operating effectively."

The fire was the second blaze inside 24 hours at the world-famous fish and chip restaurant, which has won praise from the likes of A.A Gill and James Martin. Crowds watched in shock back in May as the building's roof was ravaged by the blaze, which left the owners with an estimated £1 million bill to rebuild the restaurant.