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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Traders grateful to 39 firefighters

TRADERS have praised the emergency services after fire destroyed the inside of a Lakes fish and chip shop.

The blaze is believed to have started in a fryer at Vinegar Jones fish and chip shop, in Bowness, on Sunday.

Eight fire crews, including units from Barrow, Kendal and Windermere, spent about 10 hours tackling the fire.

Louise McMahon, owner of Love the Lakes gift shop, which backs on to Vinegar Jones, said she saw smoke seeping from the shop shortly after 10am and immediately closed her store.

She said: “We had to close the shop when the emergency services cordoned off the whole area. Sunday is our second busiest trading day so it was blow, but not a massive one.

“The firefighters were chucking water and foam at the fire but no matter what they threw at it, it kept going. They were so efficient and brave. It must have been incredibly dangerous for them.”

Lesley Spray, manager of the Bernado’s shop next door to Vinegar Jones, said they had no ill-effects from the fire, other than a slight smell of smoke and a broken front door.

She said: “We’ve got off extremely lightly, mainly because the fire service were so incredible. Within minutes they were here. Nothing was damaged or even moved when they came in. They brought their hoses in to the shop just in case but there was no need in the end.

“They worked tirelessly, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The 39 firemen and women were rewarded for their efforts with a basket of vanilla slices, scones and sandwiches.

After a mammoth effort in putting out the blaze, Catherine Norman, manager of Bryson’s tea room, in Bowness, gave away most of the shop’s stock of fresh produce as a thank you.

She said: “They were here for so long. It was just to give them a bit of something to keep them going because it was a long job and they needed it.”

Andrew Brodie, Cumbria Fire and Rescue group manager for South Lakes, said: “Our two key priorities were to extinguish the fire and protect neighbouring properties.

“Early indications are that the fire started in one of the fryers but there is a fire investigation being carried out. We were helped by the construction of the those buildings because there was solid stone walls between the properties. The staircase from the first to the second floor had collapsed and there were signs of weakness in the floors so we withdrew all crew at that stage.

“At nearly all times during the incident we had crews in neighbouring properties to check for fire spreading.

“It is a total loss of the internal parts of the building. We had a local authority building inspector there who advised it was in a safe condition in so far as no parts were about to fall down.”

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