‘WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO DO THINGS LIKE THIS?’
Investigation into suspected arson attack
POLICE have launched an investigation into a suspected arson attack on a city shop – which resulted in a busy road being closed off.
Two stores next to the Longton Hallmark and Thorntons branch also had to close due to the smoke damage caused by the early hours blaze.
Firefighters were called to the business based off The Strand which had to be shut off - at 4.20am yesterday.
Crews from Hanley and Longton attended the scene, with investigators revealing around 90 per cent of the shop has been destroyed.
Brian Griffiths, a fire investigation officer with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are still investigating the cause of the fire but we are treating it as suspicious. It’s an investigation between us and Staffordshire Police.”
The Strand was able to re-open at 5.50am.
While nobody was injured in the blaze, smoke damage was caused to neighbouring shops Shaw Trust and Carphone Warehouse, which forced them to close on Friday.
Nigel Bullock, general manager for Carphone Warehouse, said: “I’ve been told that it’s all carcinogenic and that we shouldn’t work in there, and we can’t have customers in there at the moment. I’m not sure when we will be reopen, but I don’t think it will be before next week.”
Shoppers in Longton were disappointed to see the shop devastated by the fire.
Hazel Mason, aged 64, from Blurton, said: “Why would people want to do things like that? It’s the society of today – nothing is sacred. I just think it’s such a shame. This was one of Longton’s better shops.”
Keith Stevenson, aged 70, from Fenton, said: “Thorntons is somewhere that I shop because it’s a very nice store. I think it’s absolutely disgusting that people have nothing better to do than this.”
Anyone with information should call Staffordshire Police on 101.
CORDON: Police are investigating the suspected arson attack.