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Police still at scene of Homebase fire

Homebase fire
Homebase fire

Police are still at the scene of a fire at a retail park which was tackled by more than 100 firefighters over three days.

Homebase on the Quarry Wood Industrial Estate at Aylesford was severely damaged in the blaze, which broke out on Saturday afternoon (May 1).

At its height, the fire – smoke from which could be seen miles away – was tackled by 90 firefighters using 17 fire engines, two height vehicles and several support units.

No-one was hurt in the blaze and staff at Homebase and other stores have been praised for the speed of which they evacuated the scene. Fire teams were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to adjoining units, although nextdoot Carpetright suffered smoke damage.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Clayden said: "Members of staff should be commended for their swift actions in evacuating the store. Had this not been the case, the outcome could have been very different. The fire has caused extensive damage and the building is at this time structurally unsafe.

Police are treating the blaze, which is thought to have started in a central aisle of the store, as suspicious, and are also investigating another fire at nearby B & Q in Larkfield.

DCI Clayden continued: "It is too early to say if these incidents are linked. We are continuing our investigations to establish the cause of the fire at Homebase and part of that investigation will be to determine if there is a link between these incidents."

Fire crews have now left the scene and unstable parts of the building were demolished on Sunday.

The entire building may eventually have to be demolished. Staff from the Aylesford store are being re-deployed to other local stores.

A Homebase spokesman said: "Our main priority has been to provide support for those who have understandably been upset by this incident. It is our intention to relocate all of the store colleagues to other Homebase stores in the local area."

Anyone with any information should contact police on 01622 690 690, or can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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