Shahzad Rana has thanked the fire service and police officers for their 'tremendous' efforts to save his building

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Khalid Rana and Shahazad Rana in the fire damaged cafe. Khalid Rana and Shahazad Rana in the fire damaged cafe.

A business owner has spoken out about the fire which almost destroyed an entire building, burnt a business to the ground and saw people losing their homes.

Forty-four-year-old Shahzad Rana owns the three-storey building on Leyton High Road which was the scene of a dramatic blaze on Sunday morning.

Despite having to deal with the carnage that the inferno left behind, Mr Rana says that the actions of the police and fire brigade have inspired him to stay positive.

He said: “I got a call at around 2:35am from one of the tenants to say that there was a fire.

“When I arrived I could not believe what I saw. The fire crew and the police and the Salvation Army truck were all there helping.

“It isn’t until you see the operation for yourself that you realize how lucky we are to have these services.

“The charity set up in the cricket pavilion and gave everyone hot drinks and sandwiches.

“I cannot express what a tremendous job the fire service did, what a tremendous job they all did, it could have been a lot lot worse.”

Building contractor Mr Rana says that the fire inspection team is not suggesting that there was any foul play involved in the incident.

He said: “They interviewed all of us and I have not had the report but they believe that it was an accident.

“They reckon that it started from the smoking area.

“The damage is extensive. I think that work will take months but I have to wait for an assessment.

“I can only take the positives from it, how lucky we are that it was not worse and that it was dealt with so professionally by the police and fire brigade. That is what I have told my children.”

Now, Mr Rana is working to ensure that the residents from the flats above the Numa function room all have somewhere to go.

He also has the job of rebuilding the popular shisha bar Café Cush which was destroyed during the fire.

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