Letchworth furniture store hails community spirit after recovering from arson attack
PUBLISHED: 08:24 15 January 2020
A Letchworth shop owner has praised the town's community spirit as her furniture store recovers from an arson attack.
Jenny Jones - who runs the Green House Community Market on Station Road - said the store is now "back better than normal" after volunteers helped restore the building following last week's blaze.
"Thank you so much to my fabulous friends who have got us back where we were", Jenny posted on social media. "We cleaned the soot all throughout the building and cleared out the charred remains.
"In fact, we did so well restoring order that most visitors didn't even realise there had been a fire.
"On Saturday we were packed - the busiest we have been in a long time. It shows just how much people care about a local independent store - and it has restored my faith in the goodness in people."
In the early hours of last Wednesday morning - at around 2.20am - the Green House Community Market was targeted by an arsonist who poured petrol over the premises, as 20-foot flames tore through the store.
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Jenny says the store was lucky not to have suffered more damage - only three dining tables and a marble-top end table were lost - and has praised the quick work of an eyewitness who spotted the smoke within minutes of the blaze.
"If the fire brigade had been called even half an hour later, they told us the whole street could have gone up," Jenny said. "We're next door to residential flats, and I dread to think how many fatalities there might have been."
The Green House Community Market restores and upcycles solid wood furniture, with the aim of saving worn-out household goods from landfill. They are open to the public on Saturdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Herts police have launched a CCTV appeal to help locate an individual in relation to last week's attack.
The same morning, last Wednesday - about half an hour earlier - a hut in Letchworth's Howard Park was found to be ablaze, with police believing the two incidents may be connected.
Officers believe the individual in the CCTV image was in the area at the time and could have information which will help the investigation.
If you recognise the person or have any other information please contact PC Jamie Fannon-Hall via Jamie.Fannon-Hall@Herts.pnn.police.uk.
You can also report information online at herts.police.uk/report, quoting crime reference number 41/41/2281/20, or call their non-emergency number 101.