THE OWNER of the building badly damaged in a major fire has spoken of her shock.
The blaze, on top of the building housing the Solid Rock Cafe in Eastborough, was fought by 18 firefighters on Wednesday evening, who struggled for more than an hour to get it under control.
It decimated the roof of the building and the bedroom underneath.
Carole and Andy Key own and run the Solid Rock Cafe and live in the residential building above it.
“We were up in town when it happened,” Carole said. “We just saw the fire engines rushing down towards Eastborough. As we followed them down it became obvious that it was our building. We were in total shock.”
However their concern wasn’t for their material possessions within the premises, but for their chihuahua Billy, who was locked in the bedroom just metres from the blaze.
“We were having building work done and I didn’t want Billy getting in the way so we shut him in the bedroom,” Carole said. “Luckily he is just a little shocked, but fine.”
It is believed that it was the builders, who were carrying out work on the building’s roof, who inadvertently caused the fire.
However Carole says she does not blame them for the incident.
“It sounds like a smouldering ember has shot into the roof. It was a complete accident,” she said.
“I think it was just one of those things. I’m not a roofer but I don’t think they did anything wrong. They have been wonderful and say they will help in any way they can.”
The top bedroom of the building is completely exposed, after firefighters were forced to bring the building’s ceiling down for safety reasons.
Lower levels of the building have also been damaged by water, as a result of the firemen’s efforts to extinguish the flames.
“If anyone wants to go stargazing the bedroom is perfect!” Carole added. “We’ve got another bedroom on the floor below so we’ve moved there for the time being. It is liveable.
“In a way we’ve been lucky. If we’d been in bed asleep when it took off it could have been terrible.”
An aerial ladder platform was used to lift firefighters 70ft into the air to tackle the blaze.
Part of Eastborough and all of Foreshore Road in one direction was closed off to motorists.
The fire service were called to the scene at 5:45pm, with the last crew returning to their station at 8.20pm.
The Solid Rock Cafe was closed yesterday as a result of the fire, but Carole said she hoped to reopen today.
“I’d like to apologise to our customers,” she said. “We had a booking for a table but we didn’t have a number to contact them on to let them know we were closed.”
Insurance assessors have been called in to examine the damage.