An arts centre badly damaged by fire had only just undergone a major refurbishment.

The Watershed in Slaithwaite had just been decorated from top to bottom but it all needs doing again after a severe fire in the basement.

It is home to Shabang! theatrical group for people with special needs and one of its partners, Kim Reuter, came straight back from holiday in Northumberland as soon as she heard about the blaze in the early hours of Tuesday.

The fire broke out in the basement and a neighbour heard the smoke detector go off at 3.45am.

Charities devastated after fire rips into The Watershed in Slaithwaite

She immediately dialled 999 and the quick reactions of fire crews saved the building.

Kim said: “Just 15 minutes later and we would not have had a Watershed at all. The firefighters were as brave as lions and saved the day. The had to smash windows to let the smoke out so glass is also littered everywhere.

Kim Reuter of Shabang Inclusive Learning in the fire damaged basement of The Watershed, Bridge Street, Slaithwaite.

“All the walls are smoke-damaged and the carpets are ruined. It’s just heart-breaking to see what has happened to our beautiful building. It will be a long time before we are back up and running.”

The fire in the cellars has wrecked many of Shabang!’s costumes and props.

Kim added: “The main thing is the building is still standing and we will clear it all up. We are insured so that’s not a worry.”

Video thumbnail, 50ft geyser in Slaithwaite
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Loss adjusters were due at the Watershed today (Wednesday) to assess the damage.

Charity Impossible Arts, who are based in The Watershed, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.

They said: “Thanks to a great fire service The Watershed has still got a roof. Insulated ceiling, fire alarm and light sleeping neighbour helped...”

They added that part of the cellar was “well singed, horribly sooty” and “dripping a bit.”

“The Watershed will rise again! Thanks to all for your support and offers.”

Impossible Arts carry out unique and imaginative work with disadvantaged communities and young people.

Another tenant is Satellite Arts who are founders of the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival.

What is the Watershed in Slaithwaite?

Originally a weaving shed, the old building was fully refurbished and now features a spacious activity studio with a wooden floor and balcony that overlooks the River Colne.

It also has a large meeting space and workshop called the Bobbin along with a multi-sensory soft room.

Video thumbnail, Fire at The Watershed, Bridge Street, Slaithwaite
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The Watershed hosts a wide range of practical arts workshops and training programmes from music to mosaics, filming to felt-making and singing to sewing.

An online appeal has been set up to raise £1,000 for the clean-up.

To donate go to www.gofundme.com/2a4amgqk