Fire which destroyed Ilford PDSA charity shop being treated as arson
PUBLISHED: 15:55 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:00 18 April 2013
A fire which destroyed an Ilford charity shop is being treated as arson.
The PDSA shop in Cranrbook Road was gutted on Good Friday by fire, which according to a witness began on a clothes rack near to the entrance.
It quickly spread as customers and staff members fled.
Fire investigators are still looking into exactly how the blaze started, and have not definitively said it was arson.
But Redbridge Police have told the Recorder they are investigating the fire on the basis it was arson.
They have not revealed if they are looking for one or more people.
The fire started at about 1.30pm on March 29 and took more than 30 firefighters about an hour to put out.
Speaking of the fire, eyewitness Marius Dirmantas said: “I saw about four people inside and a woman with children who were instantly evacuated by members of staff.
“One of the staff members locked the door with shaking hands and hidden panic in her eyes.
“People outside just looked through the windows as the flames got bigger and bigger.”
Two people in flats above the shop, which were damaged by smoke, were escorted out.
The PDSA shop sells clothes, books and bric-a-brac to help the charity raise money for free veterinary services.
About £18,000 of stock was destroyed in the blaze.
The shop’s staff and volunteers are currently working for PDSA at nearby shops in Leyton, Barking and Barkingside.
Anyone with information on the fire can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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