Suspect blaze damages historic building

PUBLISHED: 15:25 08 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 May 2010

FIREFIGHTERS investigating the cause of a blaze which has wrecked part of a 400-year-old listed building have not ruled out arson. Fire crews were called to Morgan Davies Salons on Bancroft in Hitchin in the early hours of this morning (Friday) to tackle

FIREFIGHTERS investigating the cause of a blaze which has wrecked part of a 400-year-old listed building have not ruled out arson.

Fire crews were called to Morgan Davies Salons on Bancroft in Hitchin in the early hours of this morning (Friday) to tackle a blaze at the side of the property.

The hairdressing salon only opened for business on Wednesday, following a £70,000 renovation of the property.

The outside of one of the walls has been destroyed by the fire and the building has suffered smoke damage.

Owner Carol Davies said: "We have spent four months renovating it, but the worrying fact is that all these buildings are linked by a cellar so had the fire taken hold it would have been devastating."

A fire investigation is currently under way and arson is being considered as a possible cause of the blaze.

Carol has said there were boxes at the side of the property which appear to have been soaked in an accelerant before being lit. She said: "[Those responsible] had no concern that it is a 400-year-old building and that they were destroying part of Hitchin.

"I'm absolutely horrified that people think they can just set alight something and just walk away without thinking about the consequences. What if people had been working in the buildings late at night? People could have died. Don't these people think? They could also have been taking away people's livelihoods."

Morgan Davies Salons is currently closed for business but will reopen for its official launch next Tuesday.

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