Chippy owner tells of 'shocking' moment fire ripped through shop
PUBLISHED: 13:48 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 December 2019
The owner of a fish and chip shop in Aylsham has spoken of his shock after fire ripped through the building as the town's Christmas lights were being switched on.
The owner of Bond's Chip Shop, who only wanted to be named as Erden, said it was still unclear how long the business would be shut, but he was anticipating around six months.
Erden said: "Of course, it's a shock because we were just serving a customer, and then, suddenly, a fire started. But the main thing is that nobody was hurt.
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"To be honest I have no idea how long we will be shut - it depends on how long it takes to fix the building. Maybe it will be six months, maybe longer or maybe not quite so long."
Fire crews from Aylsham, Earlham, Sprowston, North Walsham, Mundesley, Reepham, Carrow, plus the water carrier from Fakenham and the aerial ladder platform from Earlham, were all involved in putting out the blaze, which happened just after 6pm on Friday, November 29.
The town centre was full of visitors at the time for the annual Christmas lights switch on in Market Place, just around the corner from the chip shop in Red Lion Street.
The Priscilla Bacon Lodge charity shop next door was closed the following day 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.
Eyewitnesses said smoke could be seen "coming out of the doors of the fish and chip shop".
A message on the shop's Facebook page read: "Thank you everyone for your support and messages of encouragement, it is so kind of you all. "We would also like to say many thanks to firemen crews, they have done a great job.
"Hopefully we will be back and see you all again soon."
Regular customers left messages of condolence. One read: "You will bounce back from this. We will be back for the best fish and chips in Norfolk. Be strong. Push forward every day and you'll be there before you know it."
Another said: "Glad that no body was seriously injured. Miss you all already. Look forward to your reopening."
Stalls that had been set up on the road for the switch-on had to be cleared and pedestrians were evacuated from the area.
Erden said he and his wife had run the shop for about five years, and they employed a couple of part-time staff.