Fire destroyed businesses vow to rebuild

By Kevin Unitt 29/05 Updated: 29/05 12:55

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Buy photos » Gary Bradbury of the Myton Hospice shop on Warwick Street, which will be closed for some weeks after being heavily damaged by fire. 21.012.030.leam.nc2

THE OWNER of an art gallery gutted by fire has expressed his devastation but vowed to re-launch the business soon.

Warwick Studios, on Warwick Street in Leamington, was struck by a major fire on Friday afternoon (May 25).

Believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, it raged for several hours, spreading to upper floors, and firefighters in a total of eight engines attended the scene, some having to use the roofs of nearby properties to tackle the blaze.

Warwick Studios, a family business based there for 40 years, was run first by Peter Sands and for the last 15 years by his son David, who spoke on Monday (May 28) as he surveyed the damage to his business.

He said: “It is all still very raw, and I am devastated, but we've had tremendous support from other traders and are determined to overcome this and start again.”

Paintings destroyed in the gallery, some originals and others prints, ranged in price from £200 to £2,000.

Myton Hospice's charity shop next door will also be closed for at least two weeks after the blaze destroyed its store room and left the rest of the shop soot-filled and smoke-logged.

Store manager Gary Bradbury said: “This is a huge blow to us, as the store makes more than £2,000 a week so we will be missing out on crucial money for the charity.

“It is such a shame as we only held a celebration a fortnight ago to mark the shop's 20th birthday.

“Thankfully the prompt actions of staff on the day helped limit the damage but the stock is still all destroyed.

“We are now actively seeking an empty shop base in the town from which we can operate for the time being.”

Other nearby businesses have been affected by smoke damage to their windows but the majority have now re-opened.

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