Police praised for saving shop

QUICK action by police officers patrolling an Ipswich estate was today hailed as saving a hair salon from going up in flames.Officers on patrol in Gainsborough spotted a fire in a car which was quickly spreading to nearby properties.

QUICK action by police officers patrolling an Ipswich estate was today hailed as saving a hair salon from going up in flames.

Officers on patrol in Gainsborough spotted a fire in a car which was quickly spreading to nearby properties.

The stolen Ford Escort had been torched around 9pm yesterday after being dumped in an alleyway behind shops in Queen's Way.

The fire spread quickly from the red F-registration Escort to the fence of a property in nearby Shackleton Road and to the rear guttering and eaves of Rivaldi's hair and tanning salon in Queen's Way.


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Dale Mason, leading firefighter with Suffolk Fire Service, said: "When I arrived on the first pump what we had was a quite quickly developing fire in the vehicle itself.

"It spread up under the eaves and was at the stage where it had started to take the roof with it.

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"Once we got into the hairdressers we realised we'd got there just in time. It could have been a lot worse."

Police cordoned the street off while the two crews of firefighters from the Colchester Road and Princes Street stations battled to extinguish the blaze in the car.

Mr Mason said: "The car was parked directly under the eaves.

"The first thing we had to do was to attack the fire in the car because it was feeding the flames beneath the building.

"If it had been left longer it would have spread into the shop itself."

Suffolk Police have conducted a high-profile attack on crime in the Queen's Way area and last year invoked new powers to issue dispersal orders in a bid to quell anti-social behaviour problems.

Mr Mason said: "It was lucky the police were close by. If not, it would have taken a lot longer for someone to notice the fire and it could have been a lot worse."

A Queen's Way shop owner, who asked not to be named, said the fire was the third such incident in the alleyway.

He said: "One day they tried to burn a bed, that was not so long ago. Luckily I was out there and put it out.

"Last time it was a car and it went up. I keep having to replace stuff that doesn't need to be replaced."

The shop owner joined Mr Mason in welcoming the quick response of the police officers.

He said: "Had they not been present at that time it would have been a lot worse than it was."

Police are urging anyone with information about the theft of the Escort from outside a house in Pattern Bush Close in Brantham between 12.30am and 8.15am yesterday to contact them.

Anyone with information should call Pc Chris Tyler at Ipswich Police on 01473 613500.

N Is anti-social behaviour a problem in your area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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