Oakham Co-Op burns down!
30th July 2008
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Oakham's Burley Road Co-Op Store has been devastated by a blazing fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Firefighters from both Rutland and Leicester were called just after midnight but were unable to save the store, which must now be demolished. The blaze took some time to get under control, and was finally out today, with forensics and CID officers due to visit at noon, but unable to access the store, which was deemed too dangerous.

The Midland Co-operative Society want to re-build the shop as soon as possible. There will be a staff meeting, and as many as possible will be redeployed - the nearest large Co-ops are at Corby and Melton. Staff are being advised to contact the HR department for more information. Plans are to start trading again as soon as possible, with temporary premises not being ruled out.

Oakham's retained crew were first on the scene with eight pumps, two aerial ladders and more than 50 firefighters tackling the flames when the blaze was at its height. Gas canisters were removed from the cafe by firefighters in breathing aparatus, but there were some small explosions from aerosol cans within the store. Apparently the whole store has been affected by heat, fire or smoke. The building will now have to be demolished in a controlled manner so that entry can be facilitated in as safe a way as possible. The roof is in danger of collapse.Power cuts affected nearby businesses Rutland Prestige car repair firm and Top 555, as they all used the same power source.

The petrol station is now open for business again using a temporary generator . Credit card operations are functioning properly.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. Police are treating it as suspicious however, and if you have ANY information that could help them with their enquiries, then you are asked to contact DC 385 Pete Martin at Leicestershire Constabulary on 0116 222 2222, leave a message for an officer using the instructions given, and key in the officer's identification number 0385 when prompted . Or you can ring Crimestoppers, which is free from most landlines - and anonymous - on 0800 555 111.

Do you have any pictures of the blaze that we could use? Please email us if you do and we can arrange to put them up here.

Were you an eye witness to any of the goings on? Do let us know!

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