Ipswich: Wall of flames tore through Norwich Road kebab shop

AT least two people had to run past a wall of flames after an explosion ripped through a kebab shop, it emerged today.

Detectives have arrested a 33-year-old man from Ipswich on suspicion of arson following the fire at the Bahar kebab shop, opposite the Hare and Hounds pub, in Norwich Road early yesterday morning.

Four adults, who were believed to be in flats above the shop at the time of the fire were helped to safety through a rear courtyard by police and firefighters.

A woman who lives nearby said she was told one of her neighbours was among those rescued.

She said the man was visiting a friend when the explosion occurred.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “They heard a bang and the floor shook. They opened the front door to see what was going on and they were met by a wall of flames.

“They had to run through them because they had to get out.”

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Dave Pedersen, group manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, was among those called to the kebab shop yesterday to investigate the cause of the blaze and explosion, which left the premises gutted.

“It was a severe blaze which caused extensive damage to the ground floor of the property,” he said.

“The front window of the premises was completely blown off, however there wasn’t any structural damage.

“The fire is now subject to a police investigation but I can confirm that it is a suspected arson attack.

“We will work with police during this investigation.”

The fire is believed to have started in the basement.

As part of the inquiry officers have been trawling CCTV in the area and conducting house-to-house enquiries.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said although paramedics spent around an hour at the scene, no one was taken to hospital.

The man arrested was later released on bail until June pending further enquiries.

Louise Rosher, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Police are appealing for information following an arson in Ipswich.

“Officers were called at 3.20am following reports of an explosion.

“Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact Ipswich CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

Yesterday’s fire has led to the third major investigation in the area in just over two months.

On February 13 a family fled to safety after a fire in a large building in London Road, near Burlington Road, which had been turned into bedsits. A mother-of-two needed treatment for smoke inhalation.

Nine people also had to leave the same building after a fire began at 3.10am on February 28.

n Do you know any of the people who were led to safety? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324790.