Tragic family's livelihood hit by fire

The heartbroken family of a teenager killed in a hit and run crash yesterday had their lives pulled apart for a second time after fire ripped through their shop.

The heartbroken family of a teenager killed in a hit and run crash yesterday had their lives pulled apart for a second time after fire ripped through their shop.

Tony Felstead was on his way to work after visiting the grave of his son Daniel when he heard on the radio the shop he and his brother-in-law managed in Lowestoft was on fire.

Emergency services were called to the Biggerland clothes store, on the corner of Commercial Road and London Road North, at 8.30am after smoke was seen billowing from the entrance.

By the time Mr Felstead arrived, more than 20 firefighters were tackling the blaze, which had gutted the ground floor and left the rest of the building smoke-logged.

Sifting through piles of charred, soaking wet stock, Mr Felstead could not contain his dismay, saying he felt so down he just wanted to give up.

His son Daniel was killed after being hit by a car on Corton Long Lane, in Corton near Lowestoft, last March.

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Last month, three young men, one of whom had been driving, were jailed for their parts in the crash and burning out the car.

Yesterday, Mr Felstead said: "It is just one thing after another. To be honest I'm so down right now I just want to give up.

"There is thousands of pounds worth of damage and I would say around 60pc of the stock has been damaged. It was a major fire; the ceiling on the ground floor fell in.

"We don't know what caused it. We think it might have been an electrical fire, but we just don't know. But it is not just the damage: this is mine and my brother-in-law's livelihoods and the one remaining shop isn't going to carry two wages.

"The only good thing I can say is thank god no one was hurt. You can rebuild shops but you can't rebuild lives."

The fire created rush-hour traffic chaos, with problems already being caused by roadworks in the town, including a single lane closure on the bascule bridge.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said officers had to cone off the corner of Commercial Road to give firefighters space to tackle the flames.

Heavy goods vehicles were unable to get past the scene and were directed back to the roundabout near Asda and diverted through Oulton Broad.

General traffic suffered serious delays, with one Lowestoft worker reporting how it took nearly an hour to make the journey into town from nearby Pakefield.

Police said problems were exacerbated by drivers slowing down to look at the fire.

Assistant divisional fire officer Mark Labdon said: "The fire in the ground floor was quite severe and the other areas of the building were mainly affected by smoke damage.

"It took about an hour to get under control and the shopkeeper said his stock was very badly damaged."

Fire crews had been delayed by traffic congestion.

"The fire caused mayhem in the middle of the town," he added.