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Hot stuff at chip shop blaze

PUBLISHED: 10:38 06 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

THE owner of an Ipswich fish and chip shop today told of his fear as he evacuated customers from his packed takeaway when the fryer caught fire.

Former speedway ace turned takeaway owner Mick Lanham, 50, was frying food and his shop, Hot Stuff on Reynolds Road, was filled with customers when a fire started in an extractor fan and spread back to the cooking range.

THE owner of an Ipswich fish and chip shop today told of his fear as he evacuated customers from his packed takeaway when the fryer caught fire.

Former speedway ace turned takeaway owner Mick Lanham, 50, was frying food and his shop, Hot Stuff on Reynolds Road, was filled with customers when a fire started in an extractor fan and spread back to the cooking range.

Shouting a warning to the seven customers and two female members of staff who were in the shop at the time, Mr Lanham cleared the premises and alerted emergency services.

"I've been up all night thinking about it," he said from his Glemham Drive home today.

"It was pretty frightening at the time."

Heat from the blaze, which broke out around 6.50pm on Friday, melted tiles from the ceiling.

The shop's range is totally gutted and the mid terrace property suffered smoke damage and will be closed until repairs are carried out.

"Until the insurance people come I don't know what's happening, but the shop is closed for now," said Mr Lanham, who runs the shop with his wife Julie, 46, and his son Nikki, 26.

"I want to say sorry to all my loyal customers, most of whom are elderly. I will be open again as soon as possible."

Shop worker Jayne Roper, who saw the drama unfold from nearby, said: "I could see thick black smoke coming from the back of the building. I could see people in the shop and the staff trying to get the customers out."

Station Officer, Barry Kent, said: "The fire started in an extractor fan and spread back into one of the fryers, so there were two sources to attack.

"The owner noticed what was happening, knocked everything off and everybody went outside."

It is not the first time Mr Lanham, who spent ten years Ipswich Witches, has had a brush with drama. In 1983 he was involved in a high speed pile up while competing, which saw him fighting for his life in intensive care.

He has run Hot Stuff for the last 14 years while his other son Leigh, 24, has followed his father into the fast lane and is now competing as a speedway driver.

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