Investigations begin as structure made safe

Fire in Friars Street in Sudbury ANL-150709-170606009
Fire in Friars Street in Sudbury ANL-150709-170606009

Investigators have now begun their search for evidence to find the cause of the devastating fire in Sudbury last week.

Twenty people were left homeless after the fire on Sunday, September 6, which completely destroyed businesses and properties in Market Hill, Sudbury.

Steven Ray, centre, Worshipful Master of Priory Lodge in Sudbury, handing over a cheque from Sudbury Mason's to Jack Owen, Sudbury mayor, with Sue Ayres, deputy mayor. ANL-150917-151649001

Steven Ray, centre, Worshipful Master of Priory Lodge in Sudbury, handing over a cheque from Sudbury Mason's to Jack Owen, Sudbury mayor, with Sue Ayres, deputy mayor. ANL-150917-151649001

One family has moved back in, with others remaining in temporary accommodation, as the first steps on the long road to rebuilding begins.

Delayed by the unsafe nature of the structure, investigators are now able to enter the building, though police stated last week that there were currently no suspicious circumstances.

Investigations also continue into why it took so long for crews from Sudbury Fire Station to arrive at the scene.

Suffolk Fire Service is conducting an investigation after technical problems meant crews in Sudbury were not all alerted to the emergency, despite it being just seconds away from the town’s fire station.

It is believed that five of the eight crew members’ pagers failed to go off, meaning a crew from neighbouring Long Melford was actually the first on the scene, 15 minutes after the blaze was first reported and two minutes before a crew from Sudbury.

Babergh District Council is continuing to work with residents and businesses affected by the fire.

Only three of the businesses forced to close have not yet reopened in some form.

Oxfam is looking for an alternative venue, while The Coffee Shop remains closed due to an unsafe wall at the back of the property.

HSBC also remains closed, but there are plans to bring a temporary bank unit into the town centre.

A spokesman from the bank said: “We are working hard to provide a temporary branch to customers who would have used our Sudbury branch.

“We are urgently looking at a couple of possible locations where we can locate a temporary branch which has three till positions, an area for customer appointments and a backroom office.

“There are logistical challenges that need to be met to ensure the location is suitable - including the right infrastructure for our computer systems and actually getting the temporary unit in place, which will require a crane and local road closures.”

It is hoped the new unit will be operational within two to three weeks.

Across the town groups have been raising funds for those affected by the fire.

Sudbury Masons have donated a substantial four figure sum towards the fund for the victims affected by the fire. Worshipful Master of Priory Lodge, Steven Ray, said: “We appreciate that these people’s lives have been turned upside down and trust our support and that of everyone else that has donated will make it a little easier over the coming weeks and months.”

Long Melford Primary School held a nonuniform day which raised £247, while Barclays bank in Sudbury held a cake sale.

The Red House residential home in Sudbury has given a 70-year-old woman, who made homeless by the fire, a room for free for eight weeks.