AN AMATEUR dramatics group from Evesham could close after more than 30 years having had its equipment decimated by fire on Sunday.

Phoenix Theatre Group had the majority of its technical equipment, costumes and props wiped out when a neighbouring storage unit caught fire near Broadway.

The damage is estimated to be valued at more than £30,000 and while it is hoped insurance will cover the cost, the committee met this week to discuss whether a rebuild is viable.

Phoenix chairman Keith Norledge said: "Primarily it was a costume and prop store and we had something like 1,500 to 2,000 costumes in there

"There were various small props, anything from mock guns to tables, and over 30 years so much was accumulated.

"On top of that there was the technical equipment such as radio mikes, smoke machines, pyrotechnics, the list just goes on and on.

"A lot of the costumes had been made by different people and with the time, effort and care that went into them, they are irreplaceable because they are so individual.

"We are insured and hopefully that will sort it out but if it doesn't, I'm afraid Evesham's annual panto goes out of the window.

"We haven't had one for more than a year for obvious reasons and everyone was looking forward to it January next year, something we are planning to audition for at the end of this month.

"I am gutted and being honest, I don't know whether we can carry on.

"It took more than 30 years to get to where we were, can we pick up the pieces and get the phoenix to rise from the ashes? I don't know and we will discuss as a committee whether we can do that."

A man in his 30s was treated for burns with no fewer than 10 fire engines to put out the fire.

Two units from Evesham as well as engines called in from Redditch, Pebworth, Pershore, Upton, Malvern and Ross-on-Wye were required, alongside two from Warwickshire and further relief crews from Broadway and Hereford, tackled the blaze.

Drone footage and a vehicle with a compressed air foam system were also utilised at the general storage unit which contained farm machinery, paint and tyres and two firefighters were required to use breathing apparatus.

Severn Trent Water were also requested to increase water pressure in the area but the incident has now been closed after an inspection the following morning identified no further hotspots.