In­ves­ti­ga­tion into sus­pected ar­son at­tack

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Ruby Davies [email protected]­plc.com

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.

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