Garden centre to reopen
BOSSES at a Somerset garden centre devastated by fire have pledged that it will soon be business as usual again. The blaze, which broke out at Burrington Combe Garden Centre just before 5am on March 2, destroyed one building and caused damage estimated at
BOSSES at a Somerset garden centre devastated by fire have pledged that it will soon be business as usual again.The blaze, which broke out at Burrington Combe Garden Centre just before 5am on March 2, destroyed one building and caused damage estimated at £600,000. It is believed the fire may have been started deliberately by thieves who broke into the building and stole cash from the centre's shop along with two charity boxes.Police beat officer for the area Ray Bradbury said: "The fire officer has identified a heat source at the place where the thieves entered the building and we would urge anyone who was in the area around the time of the fire who saw anything suspicious to come forward. Also, if anyone finds the charity boxes, we would ask them to call us immediately."A house near to the garden centre in Blagdon was burgled on the same evening and police are linking the two incidents.A spokesman for the centre, Dan Adams, said: "We are grateful to the residents living near the centre who reacted quickly and called the fire brigade."Fortunately nobody was injured and the fire crews prevented flames from spreading to nearby buildings."Although the garden centre is closed at present, the staff have been moved to our centre in Congresbury."We are hoping to reopen the Burrington centre shortly from a temporary structure on the site and we are hopeful it will soon be business as usual."The fire broke out in a large outbuilding adjoining the centre's main shop. Initially two retained firefighter crews from Blagdon and Winscombe attended the scene but, due to the severity of the blaze, three crews from Weston were called into help contain the flames, which were raging through a 45m x 15m single storey timber framed building. The fire then spread to the main shop which contained fertilizers and pesticides which were in danger of giving off toxic fumes.Around a dozen firefighters using breathing apparatus fought the blaze for over two hours.The fire, which completely destroyed the outbuilding and claimed around two thirds of the garden centre's gift stock, was brought under control at about 6.30am. Firefighters remained at the garden centre for the rest of the day damping down the remains of the building. Anyone with information about the fire and burglary can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.