Firm is rising from the ashes
A SUFFOLK businessman who lost 18 motorbikes when a fire tore through his premises today said his company is on the road to recovery.Paul Easton endured a nightmare start to 2006 when, on January 2, the portable building which is home to Washbrook Motorcycles on the old A12 went up in smoke destroying almost everything inside - including the bikes worth around £50,000.
A SUFFOLK businessman who lost 18 motorbikes when a fire tore through his premises today said his company is on the road to recovery.
Paul Easton endured a nightmare start to 2006 when, on January 2, the portable building which is home to Washbrook Motorcycles on the old A12 went up in smoke destroying almost everything inside - including the bikes worth around £50,000.
His parents, Dorothy and Clifford Easton, who live just yards away from the business premises, were awoken in the early hours to the sounds of what they thought were fireworks.
However, the bangs were actually from the fire, which roared perilously close to petrol tanks at the business' service station.
Police are treating the fire as suspicious.
Today, as the charred remnants of the office still wait to be removed, Mr Easton spoke of his desire to restore his business to where it was.
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He said: “It hasn't been the best start to the New Year to be honest, but things do seem to be getting better.
“We're trying to get someone to get rid of the old building and hopefully it will be gone by this weekend.
“It will certainly be much better when it goes because having to look at it every day is a constant reminder of what's happened.
“It will still be a couple of months before we are up and running again though, but things are OK.”
In the weeks leading up to the fire, the business was targeted by vandals on a number of occasions, although these attacks have since stopped.
Mr Easton, who is heavily involved in the Copdock Bike Show which raises thousands for charity, is now in the process of finding a new portable building.
He is also working on the tougher task of replacing the bikes, two of which were older and rarer British models.
He said: “You can't just go out and buy a load of bikes, you have to source them.
“If you wanted to buy a car you could go to an auction, but it's different with second hand bikes.
“The burnt bikes have all gone to a salvage yard in Doncaster, but they're not even worth looking at.
“The insurance company seem happy there's nothing we can do with them, but we might have a problem with the valuations of the bikes. As with anything, you never get what you think they're worth.”
One man was arrested in connection with the fire and is currently out on police bail pending further enquiries.
Anyone with information on the fires should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.