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Chip in and support my shop

PUBLISHED: 14:29 11 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010

A FISH and chip shop owner has appealed to his customers to rally round when his fire-damaged premises finally reopens.

By RICHARD SMITH

Richard.smith@ecng.co.uk

A FISH and chip shop owner today appealed to his customers to rally round when his fire-damaged premises finally reopens.

The Happy Haddock in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge, has remained closed since a fire broke out on May 18 when owner Darrell Howard was preparing for the lunchtime trade.

A chip pan caught fire and three fire crews, one from Woodbridge and two from Ipswich, were alerted to stop the blaze spreading. The fire caused mainly smoke damage but the ducting equipment which runs underneath the shop floor and out of the premises needs to be replaced.

Mr Howard said there had been a delay and he was still waiting to hear when it would be delivered and fitted.

It was originally expected the shop would reopen within four weeks of the fire, then the opening was put back to July 9 and now Mr Howard is hoping he can resume business in the next two weeks.

''It is now nine weeks since the fire and it has become very frustrating. The ducting equipment has to be made to measure and I decided to go away on holiday for two weeks instead of taking a holiday soon after reopening.

''I hoped that when I returned everything would be ready but it is not. It should not take long to fit in once they have the parts,'' said Mr Howard.

He tried to control the blaze while he was waiting for the firemen to arrive and he said that the shop damage would have been far worse if he had not put out the fire in the passageway.

He has insurance for the business and this will cover the cost of repairs, loss of business during the closure and then compensate for a predicted loss as Mr Howard tries to build up trade again.

But Mr Howard, who has spent 16 years at the Happy Haddock, said it was inevitable that some customers will have drifted away because of the length of time it is taking to reopen.

''I would just like to appeal to people to rally round when I get going again,'' he said. The fire was the first incident he had experienced at the shop.

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