Shocking sight of smouldering remains of Budgens at Holt
PUBLISHED: 09:17 21 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 22 June 2020
This is the shocking sight greeting the people of Holt this morning, after a fierce blaze destroyed the town’s Budgens supermarket.
The popular store is no more than a charred shell - having been reduced to ruins by fire in a couple of hours on Saturday evening.
The town was shrouded in appropriately dismal grey cloud, and rain drizzled down, adding to the smoke and steam rising from the Kerridge Way scene.
The site is cordoned off, with a handful of police and firefighters at the scene to dampen down and monitor the situation.
Tony Cooney, who lives on nearby Kerridge Way and works at Budgens, said he heard a smoke alarm at about 9pm, but “thought it was a car alarm”.
He said he then noticed smoke, went to fetch his mobile phone, and by the time he returned “the fire had spread rapidly”.
He said he thought it had spread from the “laundrette end” of the building, adding: “It’s so sad, in the year Bakers and Larners is celebrating 250 years. A lot of elderly people rely on Budgens for deliveries.”
Earlier, MP Duncan Baker told of his “devastation” over the fire that has destroyed the Budgens supermarket in Holt.
North Norfolk MP Mr Baker, who worked for the family who own Budgens and Bakers and Larners as part of the CT Baker Group, said on Twitter: “I am horrified to see the scenes of devastation in Holt tonight and understandably am struggling to come to terms with what we are all witnessing.
“To all my friends, the staff and Baker family - whatever I can do to support the community get through this, I will. I am devastated.”
The Kerridge Way store was completely destroyed by the fire that broke out after 9pm on Saturday. Crowds gathered to witness the scene as the flames tore through the supermarket.
Rodney Smith, town mayor, said: “Holt Town Council is shocked and saddened by the terrible news regarding the devastating fire at Budgens, Holt. We thank the emergency services for their swift response.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with CT Baker, the Budgens staff and everybody affected by the fire.”
He added: “This devastating fire couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the town as the recovery from Covid-19 was just starting and a great deal of effort was taking place to promote that Holt is Open, and there were the first signs of optimism.
“The Budgens Team were providing much needed help and support through food deliveries to the vulnerable and those who are shielding in the town and surrounding communities. Budgens hosted the only post office in the town.
“Holt Town Council will be working with all partners to quickly put measures in place to provide support to the town and those most affected in the community.
We ask that people stay away from the areas to allow the emergency services to carry out their work.”
Crews from across North Norfolk tackled the blaze, which was reported at 9.15pm on Saturday.
As of Sunday morning, there were four crews still on the scene.
A spokesperson for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters will be on site “for quite some time.”
The store was closed when the fire broke out as, due to coronavirus, it closes earlier at 6pm.
No one is believed to have been injured.
The store housed the only post office in Holt.
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