Chippy could be shut for months after fire breaks out during Christmas lights switch on
PUBLISHED: 09:20 01 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 01 December 2019
A fish and chip shop could be closed for several months after a blaze ripped through the premises while a town’s Christmas lights were being switched on.
Firefighters spent about four hours tackling a blaze at Bonds in Red Lion Street, Aylsham.
Crews from Aylsham, Earlham, Sprowston, North Walsham, Mundesley, Reepham, Carrow, plus the water carrier from Fakenham and the aerial ladder platform from Earlham, attended from about 6.15pm on Friday, November 29.
A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said crews attended until about 10pm, but a pump remained at the scene overnight in case of re-ignition.
The shop's owner, who did not wish to be named, said they could be closed for up to three months following the fire.
"There was a lot of damage done to the shop," the man, who has run the business for five years, said.
"We could be closed for two to three months. We don't know the cause of the fire."
The Priscilla Bacon Lodge charity shop next door was closed on Saturday, November 30, because of the fire.
And Erica and Peter Rice, who own Aylsham Dry Cleaners, on the other side of the chip shop, were also counting the cost of the damage.
Mrs Rice said: "We got a call at about 10pm on Friday asking us to come to the shop. The road was already cordoned off for the lights switch-on but there was a big fire engine outside.
"We don't know what we are going to do yet. We will have to play it by ear."
Crews were called to the blaze about 10 minutes before the Christmas lights were due to be switched on.
Eyewitnesses said smoke could be seen "coming out of the doors of the fish and chip shop".
Stalls that had been set up on the road for the switch-on had to be cleared and pedestrians were evacuated from the area.
Meanwhile, ITV weather presenter Chris Page pushed the plunger to switch the lights on.
Festivities were said to be "in full swing" in the Market Place despite the fire, with many people "unaware of the drama".