Swindon AdvertiserArson attack forces charity shop to shut (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Arson attack forces charity shop to shut

Swindon Advertiser: The fire damage in John Street The fire damage in John Street

A TOWN centre charity shop has survived a suspected arson attack.

The fire was deliberately started in a bin in King Street at the back of the British Heart Foundation shop on Wednesday night and it damaged the back of the store.

The delivery entrance to the shop was badly damaged and there was also damage to the roof, but the inside of the store was untouched.

Three crews from Wiltshire Fire And Rescue were called to the incident just before midnight and used two hose reels and an aerial appliance to stop the blaze from spreading.

British Heart Foundation area manager Ron Humphries lost a store to fire last year and said he was relieved that none of the stock had been damaged.

The store was closed yesterday because the electrics and gas had to be turned off by the fire brigade but it is expected to re-open today.

Mr Humphries said: “The fire started because someone set fire to the bins at the back of the shop.

“It has affected the back entrance but we are lucky that it did not spread into the store and damage the stock.

“I have six stores and I had a store in Kidderminster that was burnt to the ground last year, so my initial thoughts were that I could have lost another store.

“We are lucky the damage was not a lot worse and it was great the fire brigade got there pretty quickly to keep it contained.

“The store has been closed today because we have no power and obviously any loss of taking in donations is a big blow to us but we are hoping to be open as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for the Wiltshire Fire And Rescue Service, said: “The British Heart Foundation shop in King Street, Swindon was badly damaged by fire on Wednesday night.

“Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service received multiple calls about the incident, which was first reported at 11.43pm.

“Four fire engines were sent to the scene, from Swindon, Stratton and Westlea, supported by the aerial appliance from Swindon and a control unit from Stratton.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze, using two hose reel jets and a thermal imaging camera was also used to check for fire spread.

“An investigation concluded that the fire started with the deliberate ignition of a wheelie bin at the rear of the premises, with the flames spreading to the roof.”

Donations to the charity can still be made by calling 08442 489119 or by visiting the website which can be found at www.bhf.org.uk.

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