Ipswich: Charity staff plead for new stock after fire

DEVASTATED staff at a charity shop in Ipswich are today pleading for new stock after fire ripped through the building, destroying everything inside.

On Sunday night more than 35 firefighters fought the blaze which started in the basement of the Carr Street branch of British Heart Foundation.

Sifting through the remains yesterday the shop’s management team and loyal band of volunteers turned up at the shop to help start the clear up and count the cost of the damage.

Sonya Pringle, area manager for the charity, said: “We have lost everything.

“The fire started in the cellar, it didn’t spread upstairs but everything is smoke damaged, grimy and horrible.

“It would be impossible to salvage any of it.”

She added: “It is devastating, we are there for the community, they help us to raise the funds we so desperately need.”

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Facing the prospect of refilling the shop, Miss Pringle urged people to think of the charity when they are next having a clear out at home.

“We will be desperate for new stock,” she added. “Please think of the British Heart Foundation, we will need new stock more than ever.

“You don’t realise how much stuff there is in the shop until you lose it all.

“To refill it is going to take a long time.”

It is not yet known whether the store will need a lick of paint or a complete refit, but it is likely to be weeks before it can reopen.

In the meantime Miss Pringle said people wanting to donate items to help can drop them off at other British Heart Foundation branches.

Simon Hurst, station manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze is not believed to be suspicious.

He visited the site yesterday morning to gather evidence and said he is now waiting to speak to the two fire crews first on the scene before completing his investigation. “At this stage the fire appears to be accidental,” he said. “Once I have spoken to the crews to find out what they were faced with I will be able to make my conclusion.”

The fire brigade were alerted to reports of smoke billowing into the sky at about 9pm on Sunday.

Six crews were called and part of Carr Street, between Northgate Street and Major’s Corner, was cordoned off by police while firefighters battled the challenging conditions.

The fire was under control by 12.05am yesterday and a crew from Princes Street stayed at the scene for another hour.

n Have you been affected by a fire in your home? Do you want to thank the fire service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.