Boss's shock at fire hit business

VIDEO A MANAGER of a sign making company hit by arsonists today spoke of his shock at discovering the damage when he arrived for work. Dave Dunnage, of Signs For You, Stoke Road, Ipswich, said he turned up for work yesterday morning to find police and forensic experts combing the premises for clues as to how the blaze had started.

A MANAGER of a sign making company hit by arsonists today spoke of his shock at discovering the damage when he arrived for work.

Dave Dunnage, of Signs For You, Stoke Road, Ipswich, said he turned up for work yesterday morning to find police and forensic experts combing the premises for clues as to how the blaze had started.

It broke out at the end of a weekend that saw firefighters tackling a spate of fires that are thought to have been started deliberately across Ipswich.

Firefighters were also called to a van fire in Wade's Lane in Shotley last night.

The fire, which was reported at around 9.10pm yesterday destroyed the van and there were fears it may have contained acetylene cylinders and firefighters remained at the scene for several hours to monitor them. However at just after midnight the cylinders were found to contain oxygen.

Mr Dunnage said: “We have had reports in the past that people have seen youths, individually or in small groups, hanging around the area - we keep a lot of wood and things like that there and sometimes people try and get in to pinch something.

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“But I do not think we have ever suspected anyone of deliberately starting a fire out there.

“The damage looks pretty bad but luckily it was mostly confined to one end of our building - we have lost a lot of wood and plastic materials used for making signs but we can carry on working.

“It is too early to say what the cost will be - we don't know how much of the stock can be cleaned up and used, as there is a lot of blackening from smoke damage. It will probably cost quite a bit.”

The fire appeared to have broken out in an outside storage area where wood and plastic used for sign making was kept on shelves. From there it spread to a storage building, and damage was also caused to the outside of a house next door.

Roads around the premises were cordoned off and around 20 people evacuated from their homes, as it was initially feared there may have been explosive chemicals on site.

Firefighters were called to the scene at around 10pm on Sunday directly from a car fire in nearby Gower Street, which is also thought to have been started deliberately.

Car fires also broke out in Bourne Park, Ipswich, a pub car park in Black Horse Lane, Ipswich and Ipswich Road, Westerfield, which are all being treated as arson.

n. Two crews were called to a flat fire in Plover Road, Ipswich yesterday.

The fire broke out at around 4.20pm and was under control by 5.10pm.

Have you or your neighbours been targeted by arsonists? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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