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Ilford charity shop to reopen eight months after devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 17:14 20 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 November 2013

The inside of the PDSA shop after the fire

The inside of the PDSA shop after the fire

Archant

A charity shop that burnt down in March following a suspected arson attack will reopen tomorrow.

The PDSA shop in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, was destroyed by a fire on Good Friday, but after eight months, it will now open its doors to customers again.

Store manager Theresa McGuigan said: “It’s been a long journey. It will be wonderful to finally reopen.

“We are really looking forward to seeing all the old customers.”

The pet charity store is run by Theresa, assistant manager Christine O’Rourke and Danielle Saunders, who is in charge of stock and sales.

Danielle was in the shop at the time of the fire, and carried out the evacuation.

She said: “I was in the back and heard a noise. I turned around and saw flames coming from a clothes rail.

“There was about 15 people customers in the shop and my first thought was to get everybody out of the building safely.”

Danielle added that it wasn’t until everybody was safe at the nearby fire meeting point that the impact of what had happened hit her.

“I had to go back into the shop with the fire investigation officers and I saw the devastation. I was shocked and shaken.”

Police were treating the fire as an arson attack, but no update has been made regarding the investigation.

More than 30 firefighters battled to put out the flames, which destroyed an estimated £18,000 worth of stock.

In the eight month period the staff have been working out of PetAid Hospitals garages, in Woodford Bridge Road, processing stock, as well as covering at other branches.

But as the shop enters a new era, the staff are looking forward to the future.

“We’ve been in the shop now for about two weeks, preparing for the opening. We are so glad to back,” added Danielle.


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