Harleston fish and chip shop owner pledges to return after shop blaze
The owner of a traditional fish-and-chip shop spoke of his shock last night after a fire devastated the inside of his premises.
Monty Norman, of Monty's Fish and Chips, in Harleston, has been frying up in the south Norfolk town for more than 50 years.
But the businessman spoke of his sadness after a blaze involving a frying range ripped through his shop on Saturday evening.
At the height of the fire, five crews from Harleston, Diss, Bungay, Stradbroke, and Great Yarmouth stations and an aerial ladder were at the scene in Redenhall Road as firefighters tackled the incident. No one was injured.
Mr Norman, whose family have been in the trade for 150 years, said he was 'overwhelmed' by the amount of support he had received from the local community and pledged to reopen as soon as possible.
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He said: 'It was about 6.30pm and I was still serving when I saw flames behind the chip pans and the next thing it went up.
'The heat was so intense, but I managed to serve the last customer and then I had to get out because of the smoke.'
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The shop owner said that in his 54 years running the business, he had never had a fire.
Mr Norman praised the 'excellent' response of the firefighters who stopped the blaze from spreading to his home at the rear of the shop. Crews spent around two hours tackling the fire.
Mr Norman added that he was not yet sure how long it would take to repair the smoke damage and get new frying pans.
'I hope to be open as soon as possible. The phone has not stopped ringing this morning and it is nice to know that so many people care,' he added.
Station manager Duncan Ashworth, of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said crews had to use foam extinguishers and dry powder to tackle the chip fat fire and had to cut away part of the wall to get to a smouldering wooden beam.
The aerial ladder was used to pour water down the chimney.
'There was lots of smoke and accommodation above the chip shop. It was a good stop because there was a danger of it spreading,' he said.
The fire resulted in the closure of the road just off Harleston town centre.