Shop owner devastated after sweets worth £24,000 lost in blaze (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Ilford catering shop had been making sweets for the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan
A shop owner has been left devastated after nearly four tonnes of sweets costing around£24,000 were destroyed in an Ilford fire this morning.
The blaze broke out in the basement of Chesters chicken shop in Ilford Lane, between Grange Road and Windsor Road, shortly before 1am and spread to the adjacent catering shop Durga, where staff had been preparing cakes for a Hindu festival this week.
Ahead of Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of brotherhood and love, on Wednesday, staff had used around 2.5 tonnes of milk powder to make the sweets.
Nilu Sharma, co-owner of Durga said: “If you gave me a corner to sit in where no one could see me I would cry for hours, but I can’t shed tears in front of my children.”
Of the large quantities of milk and milk powder used in the sweets he said they are “like gold dust to us”.
Firefighters worked to salvage the cakes and protect them from damage.
Mr Sharma said the sweets had been smoke damaged and as a consequence were unsellable.
Islington fire station manager Laurie Kenny, who was at the scene, said it had been very smoky when crews arrived.
Referring to the chicken shop he said: “The shop was locked up, so we had to cut open the roller shutters in order to get inside to fight the fire.”
The shop front was also badly burnt, according to Mr Sharma, and will require significant refurbishment.
He added that insurance assessors were coming to the shop later today.
The fire forced 10 people to flee their homes above the shops and saw Ilford Lane closed in both directions for a significant portion of the morning until reopening around 9am.
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