Arson attack in Woodbridge

A CHARRED rubbish bin and polythene sheeting draped over a roof today bear testimony to a suspected arson attack which threatened to destroy a Woodbridge shopping centre.

A CHARRED bin today bears testimony to a suspected arson attack which threatened to destroy a shopping centre.

More than 35 firefighters were called to Woodbridge to tackle the blaze at the Turban Centre.

It is believed arsonists started a fire in the rubbish bin behind the centre and it then threatened to spread to nearby shop roofs.

Fire crews from Woodbridg,e Ipswich and Felixstowe fought the blaze, which started at about 8.45pm yesterday.

They arrived to find the fire had taken hold of Finch's fruit and vegetable shop in Hamblin Road. The roof of the premises was already well alight, and took an hour to bring under control.

No one was in the shops, or at home in a flat which was also affected, when the fire broke out.

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Martyn Forke, community safety officer for Suffolk Fire Service, said: "We had about 35 firefighters there, but the fire affected three shops and a flat. There is severe damage to the roof of the shops by fire and severe damage by smoke to a neighbouring flat.

"We are treating the bin fire at the back of the shop as suspicious. I think about a third of the roof will have to be removed and retiled."

Tim Fincham, a businessman from Woodbridge, saw the blaze and watched the firefighting operation.

He said: "I just came along and saw smoke coming out of the building and the fire brigade were all here. You do wonder if kids are responsible."

It is believed vandals also struck at an Ipswich furniture store when a skip was set alight just before 2.30pm yesterday.

Two fire crews put out the flames in the skip at the back of AFH on London Road. The fire had been stoked with rubber tyres.

Elsewhere, firefighters from Woodbridge put out a blazing pile of logs on a playing field off Wickham Market's Main Street at 5.30pm.

A chimney fire also broke out yesterday at Brown's Farm on The Street, Holbrook.

One crew based in the village had extinguished the flames by 6.20pm.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, firefighters from Princes Street, Ipswich, extinguished a car fire – which spread to some nearby bushes – at the back of Thurleston School, Whitton Church Lane, shortly after midnight.

And today a fire crew from Woodbridge put out a car fire on the junction of the B1078 in Manor Road, Clopton just after 6am.