Blaze-hit store staff battle to re-open doors
Workers at a charity shop believed to have been torched by vandals are determined to get the store back on its feet.
The Cancer Research UK store in Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, was badly damaged by the fire which broke out early on Thursday.
Three fire engines were needed to bring the blaze, which was started at the rear of the store and destroyed hundreds of pounds of donations, under control.
Volunteers have since worked almost around the clock to be able to re-open the shop.
But with part of the stock storage space destroyed and access to the building limited, they are having to be inventive to get new donations onto the shelves.
Alison Barbuti, Cancer Research UK’s Lancashire spokeswoman, said: “No staff, volunteers or customers were in the building at the time and no one was hurt. Three fire engines attended and brought the fire under control.
“We’d like to sincerely thank the fire service for their hard work, and the local community for rallying to help since the fire.
“We’d also like to thank our Cleveleys shop team, they have been absolutely brilliant and are determined to get our shop back on its feet as soon as possible.”
The fire was reported by a resident living close to the store.
Fire crews said if it had been reported 10 minutes later the entire of the shop might have been lost.
Ali said: “The shop was closed on Thursday and Friday while our team worked to help clean up and assess the damage. We’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure a safe, clean and enjoyable environment.”
The shop was expected to re-open this morning.
However with items including books, clothing, furniture and children’s toys destroyed by the fire, there is a desperate need for new donations. Because of fire damage, they cannot be accepted at the store so an emergency collection operation is being set up.
Ali said: “Due to the fire, we have lost a lot of stock, including 20 bags of clothes, homeware, furniture, children’s toys and 10 bags of books. It’s also not currently possible for people to drop donations off at the rear of the shop, which is sealed off while the emergency services conduct their investigations.
“We will therefore set up a special donation station at Thornton Methodist’s Church Hall on Victoria Road East, on Tuesday, May 23. between 10am and 5pm.
“If anyone would like to volunteer, call 01253 862307.”
As soon as we’re open again we’d be really grateful for any support. People can shop with us, donate goods or time. Even half an hour a week helps raise vital funds for life saving research. In the meantime, people can also support the charity by shopping at and donating to our nearest store in Blackpool in Talbot Road.”
Lancashire Police confirmed it is investigating the fire, focussing on a chair which had been abandoned at the rear of the shop and may have been set ablaze.