Fire in Cranbrook Road, Ilford destroys PDSA charity shop
PUBLISHED: 17:50 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:38 30 March 2013
A charity shop in Ilford has been completely gutted by fire this afternoon.
More than 30 firefighters spent an hour fighting the flames at the PDSA shop in Cranbrook Road.
The entire shop was engulfed in fire, with smoke filling the flats above.
Firefighters, including a crew from Ilford and Woodford, were called to the shop at just after 1.30pm and spent about an hour bringing the blaze under control.
Jon Henderson, a crew manager at Ilford Fire Station, said: “There was a lot of heat and lots of smoke because of the textiles inside.
“There was a pile of clothes that was alight on the floor of the shop.
“Because it was quite a big area it [the fire] was not too intense.”
Customers were evacuated through the front of the shop, with staff fleeing through a back exit.
A staff member then locked the door to stop anyone walking in as the fire began to take hold.
Two people living in a flat above were escorted by firefighters.
No one required medical treatment.
Speaking of the scene as his crew arrived, Mr Henderson said: “People were still walking past the front and there was smoke coming out.
“People were trying to get in our way taking video.
“I shouted at some people to get out of our way – I’m good at shouting at people!”
The PDSA shop - which sells things like clothes, books and bric-a-brac to help the charity raise money for free veterinary services - has been completely damaged by fire.
The fire did not spread to the flats above, but they have been damaged by smoke.
No other shops needed to be evacuated.
The businesses either side of the PDSA shop were not open at the time of the blaze.
The shop is within what was formerly the long-standing Fairheads department store, which closed in 2008.
A crew from Woodford Fire Station is still at the scene damping down.
A section of Cranbrook Road was closed off, causing delays and forcing buses to divert.
Ilford station was still accessible for commuters.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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