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Village Supermarket and Butcher Count Costs of Mystery Midday Fire

Published on: 22 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 25 Apr, 2020

Smoke seem coming out of Bevan’s yesterday (April 21)

by Chris Dick

Shop owners were counting their costs today in the aftermath of the mystery midday fire yesterday (April 21) that struck Effingham’s Village Supermarket, which was also the post office, and Bevan’s the butcher next door.

Robin Bevan, the great-grandson of the founder of Bevan’s in 1929

Robin Bevan, great-grandson of the shop’s founder who started the business in 1929, told the Dragon: “We want to reopen as soon as possible. But we cannot get an insurance assessor out until tomorrow.

See also: Supermarket Blaze Shocks Effingham Shopkeepers – Photos of Damage

“That means we probably can’t go in and start the clean-up until the insurance company have been out to inspect the damage and assess the loss, although someone said we just needed to take photographs of the state of it before we start work. I’m just concerned about the staff if we can’t reopen quickly.”

Bevan’s Butchers

Mr Bevan said they had lost meat worth £20,000 through smoke particulate contamination and the fridge and freezer storerooms would have to be rebuilt because of damage from extreme heat.

He added: “Steve Conisbee [from another well-known local family butcher,  F. Conisbee & Sons of East Horsley] was on the phone to me during the fire, offering help.

“He then came with his fridge vans and worked hand-in-hand with us moving the meat to his premises to maintain temperature continuity. But it has been tested and sadly all of it has to come back here to be destroyed because it’s contaminated.”

Mr Bevan’s fridge and freezer storeroom builders were already on-site assessing the replacement work but said getting the parts was going to be a problem under the present circumstances. There was no electrical power apart from the lighting in the shop front and no running water except for a tap at the rear.

Ruefully, he went on: “It doesn’t seem that long ago that we spent £350,000 to fit out the building and build the freezer and fridge stores in 2016.”

Village Supermarket being secured

Next door at the supermarket, owner Bala Chandran was ensuring his damaged premises were made secure. “We still have no idea what caused the fire or why nobody noticed sooner,” he said. “It started at the rear but the alarm wasn’t raised until smoke was coming out of the flat at the front.”

He too wants to reopen as soon as possible but again that was a matter for the insurance company, the extent of damaged contents, what they would pay for and the time frame. He said the fire service had been unable to pinpoint the cause of the fire.

Mr Chandran Bala said he was really surprised and pleased neighbours and other residents had already started fundraising and thanked all those who had donated. Anyone else who wishes to donate should click here

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