Investigation continues in Bury St Edmunds following blaze at Cycle King
- Credit: Andy Abbott
Investigations are continuing in Bury St Edmunds following a blaze at the Cycle King on Friday night.
Fire crews from across Suffolk were called to the Cycle King shop in Angel Hill shortly before 5pm, where a fire broke out in a storeroom behind the shop, which backs on to Abbey Gardens.
At the height of the blaze 12 fire crews comprising around 60 firefighters tackled the flames, with the priority for the fire service to stop the spread of flames to other buildings.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue area commander Ken Williamson said: 'By around 7pm we had the fire contained, and the main thing was to extinguish the fire within Cycle King itself and stop it spreading to the adjacent buildings.
'We had to create a fire block, but there has some slight damage affecting the neighbouring buildings.
'Obviously we're very saddened by the amount of damage in Cycle King but our main effort was to contain the fire, which we are pleased we managed to do.'
Once the flames were contained to Cycle King, fire crews continued working to put out the flames, which they did by around midnight.
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Mr Williamson added: 'There were not any dangerous substances but we had some minor explosion risks with the materials in Cycle King – canisters and tyres – there was quite a lot of rubber and canisters which all increased the potential for fire spread.'
Relief crews took over and remained at the scene until 4am to dampen down hotspots.
The Cycle King store has been left ruined while two neighbouring historic premises were both smoke damaged.
Last night, police confirmed two men – aged 22 and 23 – had been arrested on suspicion of arson.
Both had been taken to hospital for smoke inhalation treatment, before being taken to Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre for questioning.
A force spokeswoman confirmed the pair still remained in custody this morning.
Police had put in place a cordon in Angel Hill and closed the road while they were on the scene.
The road was initially expected to be closed for the rest of the weekend to traffic, although one lane is currently open on the cathedral side.
Structural engineers are at the site currently to assess the buildings, with the outcome of the inspection determining whether the road can full re-open.
It is understood that once scaffolding has been put up around the store this afternoon, both lanes will be open once again.
The fire service and police will be at the shop for most of the day for a full investigation into how the flames started, with Mr Williamson adding that it was too early at this stage to determine how it began.
Darren Hunt, group retail managing director of Cycle King, which has 23 stores across the country, said on a Facebook post from the firm: 'Everyone here at Cycle King are both shocked and saddened to report that a fire broke out on Friday evening at our Bury St Edmunds store.
'Most importantly, we can confirm that no-one has been injured and we would like to thank the police and fire services for their amazing response.
'Customers can contact both our Cambridge and Colchester stores where our local staff will be based while we make plans to reopen in Bury as soon as possible.'
The restaurant next door, Francela, was also affected from the fire.
Manager Salih Akman said: 'It was very scary. We saw the smoke and the firefighters told us to evacuate, just as we were setting up.
'We didn't expect the fire to be so big. People tried to save the bikes for a few minutes but then it got too bad. We have damage in the kitchen and will probably be closed for a couple of weeks.'
The 600-year-old One Bull pub next door to the cycle shop was saved from ruin thanks to the quick efforts of firefighters, but yesterday tweeted to say it would be closed until further notice.
Further tweets this morning said: 'Thanks so much to all of the amazing emergency services who saved our pub yesterday and the incredible support from the Bury community.
'Our home and the pub are damaged but everyone is safe and well. We will be back soon. Thank you for your concern and support, David & Rox.'
Andrea Marinho, owner of Cheers Restaurant, three shops away from Cycle King, and undamaged, said: 'It is really sad. We hope it was an accident. If it's arson, who do such a thing? I don't understand.
'We had a couple of employees in our restaurant at the time. They saw smoke and soon after were told to evacuate by firefighters. I came down and it was very scary. The firefighters have done a really great job. The fire and smell was horrible.'
Bury resident Richard Horn said he hoped the community would help rally around those affected – particularly ahead of the Christmas trade period.
He added: 'They have a race against time now to open for Christmas. I hope they are open in time. That is a great time of year for trade.
'It is just such a shame. It must have been open for 30 years.
'I bought my kids their bikes from here. But Bury is a friendly, caring town and I'm sure we will all rally round to help.
'It is an iconic shop and an historic area of the town. It's so sad for everyone.'
Police are still appealing for anyone who may have information about how the fire started to contact them on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.