ARSON ATTACK: Essex fire service confirm charity shop blaze was started “deliberately”, police to investigate

ESSEX County Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that a charity shop blaze in Saffron Walden was started deliberately.

Firefighters were called to the St Clare Hospice in Mercers Row shortly before 12 noon yesterday (Thursday).

A fire spokesman said that the shop was heavily smoke logged and arrivals. Crews wore breathing apparatus and used one hose reel to extinguish the fire by 12.40pm.

Firefighters administered oxygen therapy to two members of staff. The women, aged 54 and 84, suffered from smoke inhalation and were placed in the care of the ambulance service.

Crews used a thermal image camera to check for any hotspots and ventilated the shop free of smoke.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage although a spokesman for ECFRS confirmed it was started “deliberately”. Essex Police will carry out an investigation.

Sub officer Nigel Webb from Saffron Walden fire station said: “The charity shop staff’s prompt actions in raising the alarm prevented the situation from being far worse, it is thanks to them that we were able to get there so quickly and prevent the fire from spreading.”