Business manager tells of arson anger

A FRUSTRATED Ipswich manager today told of his anger after arsonists set alight his tyre business.Darian Wheeler, manager of Universal Tyres, in Great Whip Street, said he was relieved that the fire, which started around 7.15pm last night, had not caused more damage and added he hoped those responsible would be found.

A FRUSTRATED Ipswich manager today told of his anger after arsonists targeted his tyre business.

Darian Wheeler, manager of Universal Tyres, in Great Whip Street, said he was relieved that the fire which started around 7.15pm last night had not caused more damage and added he hoped those responsible would be found.

Mr Wheeler said: “It could have been a lot worse. They set alight wood and plastic and a small truck tyre which was in the front yard.

“When I arrived there was a lot of smoke and the smell of burning rubber was awful.”

The flames reached the top of a covered area in the front yard, and damaged a door, but did not cause serious damage.

Assistant divisional officer Gary Clark praised the firefighters who prevented the flames from spreading to adjacent buildings, and who discovered two vehicles - including a lorry - and six tyres ablaze in nearby Dock Street.

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He said: “On arrival crews found rubbish alight in a covered work area to the rear of the building. Shortly afterwards they noticed a fire across the way and went to investigate. They found a car and tyres had been set alight to the side of the premises.

“Due to the quick response of the fire service we were able to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings, which would have definitely happened.”

ADO Clark said the fire was being treated as suspicious and an investigation was now under way to find the culprits.

He added: “Fortunately the premises were closed at the time of the fire so no one was inside and the only damage caused was to the items set alight.”

Great Whip Street and Dock Street were cordoned off for around 45 minutes while firefighters from Princes Street and headquarters in Ipswich tackled the blaze.

Also last night three Suffolk homes had to be evacuated after a bonfire burned out of control, threatening to engulf nearby gas cylinders.

Firefighters from Elmswell were called to Richer Close in Badwell Ash, near Bury St Edmunds, at 8.40pm. Residents were able to return to their homes an hour later.

Later in the evening an elderly man had to be taken to hospital after he inhaled smoke when a fire engulfed the living room of his Halesworth bungalow.

Firefighters also dealt with a skip fire in Bloomfield Street, Ipswich, at just after 10pm last night.

Did you witness this fire? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.