Owner left shocked by store blaze

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­

TWO staff at a West Dray­ton newsagents had a lucky es­cape when the shop burst into flames fol­low­ing an ‘ex­plo­sion’.

The em­ploy­ees were in the back of the West Dray­ton Food & Wines, in Har­mondsworth Road, when they heard the sud­den noise and fled the build­ing be­fore Lon­don Fire Brigade ar­rived to tackle the blaze.

Eye­wit­nesses said the shop burst into flames at around 9.30pm last Thurs­day (June 4).

Vi­jaya Raja, who has owned the shop for 14 years, said: “I’m just shocked right now and we’re try­ing to sort it out and open as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The fire is be­lieved to have started when a leak­ing gas cylin­der was ig­nited by an elec­tri­cal spark, the fire brigade said.

The ma­jor­ity of the dam­age was to the ground-floor of the build­ing, at the front, where the shop counter is lo­cated.

It took four fire en­gines and 21 fire­fight­ers to wres­tle the blaze un­der con­trol.

Since then Mr Raja has en­listed the help of friends to as­sist him clear in clear­ing the de­bris.

Two young men, who did not want to named, wit­nessed the ex­plo­sion and helped evac­u­ate the fam­ily living above the shop.

One said: “I was smok­ing nearby when I heard a loud noise.

“At first we thought there was some­one kick­ing off and did some­thing to the shop. Then I saw the fire at the front of the shop.

“It was all so sud­den, it all hap­pened in less than a minute.”

The other young man, who helped a fam­ily who live above the shop, said: “It was like some­thing in a movie.”

Shahidul Is­lam, who lives with his wife and two chil­dren, was work­ing at Sip­son Tan­doori next door, at the time of the ex­plo­sion.

He said: “I heard the bang while I was at work. We all left and stayed with our next door neigh­bour last night. We’re all okay though.”

Fire­fight­ers from Hilling­don, Heathrow and Hayes fire sta­tions at­tended the blaze along with other emer­gency ser­vices.

A Metropoli­tan Po­lice spokesman said the fire is not be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious.

n DE­STROYED: The af­ter­math of a fire at West Dray­ton Food & Wines in Ruis­lip on June 4 2015 Pho­tos by Lon­don Fire Brigade

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