'It could have been a lot worse': Owners vow to rebuild after devastating blaze
PUBLISHED: 16:10 06 November 2019
The owners of a fish and chips shop have vowed to get their popular business up and running again soon after a fierce blaze caused significant damage.
Fire tore through the Hollingsworth Road fish and chip shop shortly before the Lowestoft business opened on Wednesday lunchtime (November 6).
John and Sue Beckett have run the business for the past 20 years, and despite their sadness the family admitted they are "determined" to reopen.
Mrs Beckett was preparing the fryers in readiness for lunchtime opening, when "there was a whoosh" as one of the chip pans became engulfed in flames.
She tried to douse the flames, putting a fire blanket over the pan, but the fire became "too fierce" as a plume of thick black smoke quickly overtook the property, leaving Mrs Beckett to flee the building.
A maisonette above the premises was evacuated and the Coral bookmakers next door temporarily closed as three fire crews from Lowestoft were alerted.
Lowestoft Police were also called to the scene to assist with traffic management and evacuating one property.
Lowestoft South fire station commander Andy English said: "We were called at 11.08am to a fryer fire in a ground floor chip shop.
"We had four BAs tackling the fire and stopping it from spreading.
"The owner was in there and had tried to tackle it herself with a fire blanket over the fryer, but she did the right thing and left the building.
"The fire has caused significant damage to the chip shop, as flames were coming out of the front and it was heavily smokelogged.
"But the crews got it all sorted really quickly."
Mr Beckett, who was at a doctors appointment and did not know what had happened until he arrived and saw the fire crews at his shop, admitted: "I am gutted.
"My wife was here preparing to open as usual, something she has done every day, thousands of times, when all of a sudden there was a 'whoosh' and the flames went up.
"There was black smoke everywhere.
"She tried to stop it and fought it as far as she could by putting a fire blanket on it but the fire was too fierce and she had to get out.
"It is in a hell of a state."
Investigations are now under way, and a family member added: "It could've been a lot worse, but as a family we are very determined to get up and running again very soon."