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‘We are a resilient lot’- repair work begins on high street building destroyed in blaze

PUBLISHED: 13:40 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:40 26 February 2020

Repair work has begun on the building destroyed in fire on Watton High Street. Picture: Marc Betts

Repair work has begun on the building destroyed in fire on Watton High Street. Picture: Marc Betts

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A business owner has praised the resilience of a town high street after a fire ripped through a restaurant.

Fire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire crews were called to Watton High Street at about 2.30pm on Thursday, February 6 after a fire started in the Beijing Diner Chinese restaurant.

The blaze quickly spread through the building which also housed Casino Games, Cookies cafe and the Watton International Food Centre.

The building belonged to Dennis Brooks, 68, of Ashill, who has owned it since 1992.

The community has rallied round the businessman with messages of support and a fundraiser set-up.

Fire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

READ MORE: "'The town has been wonderful' businessman humbled by community spirit after devastating fire"

Now, work has started on the building to repair the roof with fellow business owners praising the strength of the high street.

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Fellow businessmen Paul Adcock, 60, runs Adcocks Home Electricals next to the building that went up in flames. He has been in Watton for the past 40 years.

He said: "The high street and community have come together, there was a great spirit on the day with the fire crews being looked after and giving Dennis moral support as his life work went up in smoke.

Paul Adcock of Adcock Home Electricals. Picture: Ian BurtPaul Adcock of Adcock Home Electricals. Picture: Ian Burt

"It's a positive thing for the high street to see the roof going back on the building. There was a large concern that the building would have to be demolished which would have been a greater disruption. It's great the building has been salvaged and being repaired already.

READ MORE: Drone photos reveal scale of major high street blaze

"We are a resilient lot on the high street, being here a lot of years there has been numerous events but this has been the most drastic thing in the high street that's had such an affect and happened so quickly."

Mr Brooks said after the fire: "The support from the businesses in the High Street makes me choke up a bit.

"Atlantis Fish bar served fish and chips to the firefighters along with Little Gary's Plaice and Paul Adcock [of Adcocks Electronics] have been very helpful.

"It isn't just them, the town has been wonderful."

READ MORE: Crowdfunder launched as community rallies to support fire-hit businesses

Watton High Street was closed for two days after the fire due to the building being deemed unsafe. It has reopened with one lane partially blocked as workers rebuild the roof.


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