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Ipswich: Store re-opens for business within hours of blaze drama

PUBLISHED: 11:14 25 October 2011

Aspi Shah outside his store in Queen's Way

Aspi Shah outside his store in Queen's Way

IPSWICH: A shop manager has today vowed to get his business back on track despite losing nearly £10,000 of stock in a fire which gutted part of the store.

Residents of four flats near the shop, Pick ‘N’ Pay, in Queen’s Way, had to be evacuated after the fire broke out in a roof space shortly before 2am yesterday.

Fire engines from Ipswich East and Princes Street attended the blaze, along with the turntable ladder, but the fire was so serious they called for back-up from another unit.

The flames ripped through the storage room at the back of the convenience store, destroying boxes of chocolate bars, fizzy drinks and crisps, as well as wrecking freezers and an oven used to bake fresh goods.

Manager Aspi Shah, who lives above the shop with his family, said: “One of my neighbours woke us up at about 1.30am saying there was a fire in the back, and lo and behold, we looked out of the window and saw the flames.

“The fire brigade were very quick and very good, especially since it all happened so quickly. They got all of us out of our flats.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but nobody was hurt, and that’s more important than anything else.”

Investigations are on going as to what caused the blaze.

Shoppers were lending their support yesterday as staff made initial attempts to clear the mass of ash which had been soaked by water from the fire crews’ two hose reel jets.

Ferial Rolfe, group commander for the fire service, said: “When the crews arrived, thankfully the fire was not in the main part of the roof

“It was contained to the roof of a single-storey extension at the rear of the building, a store room. It was a well-developed fire with a lot of flames showing from the back of the building.

“Once we had checked for people inside the building, the main priority was to stop the fire travelling back to the main part of the building.”

Mr Shah, 59, estimated it would cost between £8,500 and £10,000 to replace the destroyed stock and equipment, but already had the shop open just hours after the blaze.

He added: “We’re so grateful no-one was hurt, so now we just have to work on picking up the pieces. Everything can be replaced except someone’s life.”

n Would you like to send your message of support to the shop staff? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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