A Hampden Park shop owner has been left devastated after flames tore through his convenience store in the middle of the night in a fire that started after a fan heater was left switched on.
Sid Sharna, owner of Hampden Food and Wine on Brassey Parade, received a call from East Sussex Fire and Rescue service in the early hours of Thursday morning and rushed from his home in Hastings, only to find the shop ravaged by fire and smoke.
Crews from Eastbourne and Pevensey had initially arrived on the scene at around 1.30am following reports of smoke filtering in to the flats above the parade of shops.
After discovering the fire was inside the off-licence, firefighters spent almost 15 minutes breaking through the roll-down shutters before tackling the blaze with four breathing apparatus and a hose reel.
Mr Sharna said, “I got a call at about 3am this morning to tell me there was a fire. Turns out I left the fan heater on. It’s only small but it overheated.”
Firefighters were on the scene for around 90 minutes after checking everybody in the flats above the shops was evacuated and accounted for.
Kieran Payne, who lives above Hampden Food and Wine, called the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after smelling smoke in his bedroom.
The 19-year-old said, “I was just sitting there about to go to sleep and I smelt smoke, so I started looking around to see if something was on fire.
“The smoke was coming up from my mattress, so I moved that and saw it was coming through the air vents from the shop below.
“I woke up my mum and obviously we rang the fire brigade. They turned up within minutes and then spent 10-15 minutes breaking through the door.
“There are quite a few kids that live in these flats and they were all stood on the corner over the road, where it was safe. Some other people were out on their balconies. The firefighters were here for about an hour and a half before they left.”
Kieran was one of a handful of local residents helping Mr Sharna with the extensive clean-up later in the day, which included assessing just how much stock had been damaged by the flames.
Kieran added, “A lot of stock has melted, like all the chocolate and crisps. A couple of bottles of alcohol popped but other than that, it’s just a lot of smoke damage.”
Mr Sharna concluded, “We’ve already started cleaning up. A lot of the stock has been damaged, so I’m seeing what I’ve got left, but we will definitely be closed for a while – at least a week or two.”