Fire drama leaves villager homeless
A VILLAGER has spoken of his despair at being left homeless by a blaze that tore through an antiques shop beneath his flat.Firefighters from stations across west Suffolk were sent to Lakenheath High Street on Monday night after reports of a major fire at Boylan Antiques, which witnesses said went “up like a tinderbox.
A VILLAGER has spoken of his despair at being left homeless by a blaze that tore through an antiques shop beneath his flat.
Firefighters from stations across west Suffolk were sent to Lakenheath High Street on Monday night after reports of a major fire at Boylan Antiques, which witnesses said went “up like a tinderbox.”
The fire destroyed the shop and its valuable contents. The building next door, which was under renovation, was also wrecked and three first floor flats above the antiques business were left uninhabitable after floors caved in.
Officers from Suffolk Fire Service were back at the scene yesterday morning to damp down the buildings and to assess the damage.
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They also launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze and bosses say they are ruling nothing out.
One of the three residents living in the flats above, who did not wish to be named, told of his shock at what had happened.
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He said: “I have been left homeless. It was quite a night. I have been in contact with the council, which can only offer me a place in Newmarket.
“But I was born and bred in this village and I will not stay in sheltered accommodation. I was out at the time of the fire and I did not know anything about it until somebody told me.”
The owner of Boylan Antiques was yesterday unavailable for comment.
The fire also devastated an adjoining building, which was being renovated and contractors working on the development - which involves creating two new three-bedroom houses - said the entire site was too unsafe to set foot in and that the entire project was now on hold.
Carl Wright, director of CJ Developments, which owns the buildings next to the antiques shop, said: “These buildings are old and it does not seem there were any modern fire restrictions which meant it just went up like a tinderbox.”
Peter Wright, project manager for CJ Developments, added: “The lady next door (on the other side of the antiques shop) was evacuated last night by the firefighters. She has got no electricity and the heat from the fire might have damaged her gable wall.
“Nearly all of the items in the shop were wooden and went up in flames and we cannot progress our project at all until it is declared safe by the council's building control team.”
Because of concerns over the structural stability of the buildings, firefighters tackling the fire had to battle the flames from a distance and end their bid to salvage property from the antiques store.