Arson attack forces closure of precinct

Fire ripped through a Black Country business, sending smoke billowing into seven other businesses and forcing the closure of an entire precinct after an arson attack.

Arson attack forces closure of precinct

Fire ripped through a Black Country business, sending smoke billowing into seven other businesses and forcing the closure of an entire precinct after an arson attack.

Traders on the parade of shops in Lichfield Road, Wednesfield, were today counting the costs after being forced to shut their businesses following the attack The fire broke out at the

Silver & Co accountancy firm, based on the first storey of the complex, on Saturday but spread downstairs to the Penguin Cafe after burning down through the ceiling.

Owner Diana Jones, who runs the business with other members of her family, had been cooking in the cafe.

"We were in early and could smell something burning but didn't think anything of it because sometimes they burn things around the back," said the 67-year-old, who has run the cafe for eight years.

"The ceiling is completely ruined and I am waiting for the insurance to come out to find out the exact amount of damage.

"We have lost three freezers filled with prawns, burgers and bacon though and that is thousands alone."

The cafe delivers food to industrial estates across Wolverhampton as well as providing buffets for business lunches, and Diana, of Wednesfield, is now preparing to meet any that have ordered face-to-face to explain what has happened.

Others hit include Elegant Frames, childrens' shop Oh Baby and Portland Opticians and roofing, plumbing and carpentry firms.

Jason Baso, who has run Elegant Frames for 16 years, spent yesterday at his shop tidying up ready to reopen.

"We have had to throw away a few things like office chairs that have been smoke-damaged but I can assure all of the customers that all their precious pictures are safe," he said.

"They were all locked away safely in cupboards and have not been touched at all. You can't replace memories and a lot of people would be concerned about their pictures, but they are all . We will be reopening in a couple of days."

Firefighters from Fallings Park and Walsall were called just after 7am on Saturday. Police are investigating.

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