Pictures show the devastating impact of fire which has gutted a service station shop on the A11
- Credit: Archant
These pictures show the aftermath of a devastating fire which ripped through a service station shop on the A11, near Barton Mills.
The blaze, which was described by firefighters as severe, has destroyed the Esso garage shop leaving debris scattered around and parts of the roof collapsing in.
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It comes just six months after businessman Phil Withers, who runs Withers Holdings that runs both the Barton Mill shop and a second Esso shop in Field Road, had celebrated the re-opening of the shop following a massive revamp of the site by Esso.
Mr Withers has told friends 'We've lost everything'.
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Fire crews were alerted to a small fire in the shop at just after 7am on Saturday morning.
By the time the first fire engine had arrived the fire was 'well-developed' and had broken through the roof.
Smoke could be seen billowing out of the shop and over the A11 - with the road closed for a couple of hours to allow firefighters to battle the fire.
More crews were called and the blaze had to be tackled from outside because it was too dangerous to go inside due to fears the roof could collapse.
The fire service praised a worker's swift actions to isolate fuel tanks and raise the alarm to stop the flames from spreading out onto the forecourt.
Nigel Vincent, fire station manager at Bury St Edmunds and who was the incident commander, said: 'The shop worker acted quickly and isolated the forecourt using the isolation switch and evacuated the building.'
He added: 'The fire became quite severe several minutes later and crews fought to bring it under control.'
A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it is believed the fire started in a refrigeration unit and has been classed as an accidental electrical fault.
In total five fire crews battled the fire - which was under control by 10.46am - but some remained on scene until 8pm while engineers inspected the building.
Three lanes of the A11 were reopened at 10am and the road was completely reponed at 4.30pm.