DAM­AGE IN ‘TENS OF THOU­SANDS’ OF POUNDS

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts -

The in­side of the cafe has been turned black, with kitchen ap­pli­ances now feared to be use­less.

Mr Breen says the dam­age could to­tal £30,000 in equip­ment alone, with­out the work to carry out re­pairs.

He said: “I’m still so much in shock that I’ve not started cal­cu­lat­ing the to­tal cost of what’s in­volved.

“The decor is a mi­nor fac­tor – it’s fridges, freez­ers, mi­crowaves and the elec­tri­cal wiring that’s gone. The ceil­ings are dam­aged be­yond re­pair and will have to come down, and the ex­trac­tion sys­tem has packed up.”

There are 11 full-time staff at the cafe, who were all ask­ing about their po­si­tions on Mon­day. Mr Breen said: “They’re say­ing ‘what do we do, what hours do we work?’ and they’re wor­ried about their in­come. They’re reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees and we will have to pay their wages while we’re not mak­ing any money. We will look af­ter them the best we can.”

Mrs Breen said: “It’s been a trau­matic day for ev­ery­one that could have been avoided. Ev­ery­body is re­ally up­set and they’ve done their ut­most to help and been work­ing since they were al­lowed back in the build­ing. They’ve been scrub­bing and clean­ing and are all pretty up­set – un­der­stand­ably so, be­cause we’re like a big fam­ily.

“We’ve got so many reg­u­lar peo­ple that are go­ing to be so dis­ap­pointed that they can’t come here for a few weeks.

“It could have been a mat­ter of life and death for some­body. It wasn’t, but it could’ve been.”

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