Shop owner can’t bear to see fire destruction at Barkingside clothes store

A businessman who watched his shop burn in Barkingside said he has not been able to go inside the premises since the disaster.

Fashion store Spirit, in the High Street, was extensively damaged in the blaze that raged for four hours on August 11.

Families were evacuated from the flat above the shop as around 50 firefighters from across London battled to put the fire out.

Owner Vic Trehan arrived at the scene around 1.30am to see his business going up in flames.

He said: “I’ve never experienced anything like it in my whole life. You couldn’t see anything past the entrance, there was so much smoke.

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“For me it’s very emotional because it’s where I started. Whatever I am today is because of that shop.

“I haven’t been able to go back into the shop since the fire, it’s hard.”

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Mr Trehan opened Spirit 25 years ago and went on to launch branches in Epping and Bishop’s Stortford.

He lived in Falmouth Gardens, Redbridge, before moving to Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex.

Spirit sells men and women’s designer brands, including Vivienne Westwood and Hugo Boss.

Mr Trehan estimated that restoring the Barkingside shop would take four to six months.

The building is structurally safe but was gutted by the fire, which left extensive smoke damage.

The company is looking for temporary premises in the High Street while work is carried out.

Mr Trehan said: “We know the fire was nothing malicious.

“An electrical fault occurred in the office and the fire spread to the store room, where a lot of the stock was flammable.”

The London Fire Brigade’s investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, but four firefighters were taken to hospital with “effects of heat” and three people were treated for minor burns at the scene and taken to King George Hospital.

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