Echo, November 1, 1990
INCHES FROM DISASTER
A fire at Lowe’s Homecare in Queen Street, Haverhill, believed to be the work of an arsonist, came within inches of causing an explosion that would have wrecked a large area of Haverhill town centre.
The blaze caused £250,000 worth of damage and wiped out all the store’s stock.
Forensic experts said someone broke into the rear yard of the shop in the early hours - only 40 yards from Haverhill police station - and deliberately started the fire among a variety of flammable materials.
When Haverhill firemen got there, a 600-gallon tank, half filled with paraffin, had begun to buckle under the intense heat and a fire curtain spray had to set up to prevent an explosion.
Gas cylinders and expanding aerosol cans also had to be cooled down by firefighters.
People in neighbouring flats had to be evacuated and more than 30 firefighters had to fight the fire.
The shop lost £100,000 worth of stock and damage to the property amounted to about £150,000.
The shop’s owner said he planned to reopen by Christmas.