At 11.40 last night Kent Fire Service was called to 'Time Tunnel' on Northdown Rd Cliftonville. At its height 16 appliances and 80 firefighters were involved and even this morning fire teams were entering and searching and fighting the fire. Appliances have been in Northdown Rd all day and the dampening down process is still not over. No casualties or injuries have been reported.
The terrace with shops and accommodation above has had refurbishment of roof and scaffolding work going on for some time and the nature of such fires is that once in the roof the fire spreads rapidly to neighbouring properties in the terrace. The reports are that 4 out of the 14 buildings in the terrace have been severely damaged and that others have suffered smoke damage. It could have been worse if the fire service had not prevented further spread.
I was unable to get close enough to see exactly what businesses have now suffered but it looks as if Thanet Sports Trophies, an empty shop, Time Tunnel and businesses down to Batchelors Bakery and Coffee shop, might have all suffered with smoke, water and fire damage to various degrees.
As one who has watched the inevitable decline of Northdown Road due to Westwood Cross and high parking charges, this is a serious blow to all businesses in Northdown Rd. I should imagine that road closure and structural safety problems will be on-going. Martell Press across the road is about to close and how many of the affected businesses will be able to get over this further catastrophic blow remains to be seen.
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