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Fire destroys Coventry's Dunelm Mill furniture store and Dreams bedstore

More than 80 firefighters are battling a massive blaze at a shopping park on the outskirts of Coventry - which has destroyed a furniture store and badly damaged another.

Police have confirmed they believe that the huge fire - which has also affected city postal services and closed a school in the area - has started deliberately.

Plumes of thick smoke can be seen rising from the Orchard Retail Park - also known as the Airport Retail Park - in London Road, for miles around.

The smoke could be seen 20 miles away in Daventry.

Dunelm has partially collapsed and Dreams has been badly damaged.

West Midlands Fire Service group commander Nigel Sowden said neither of the affected premises had sprinkler systems, and warned the damage could have been greater if the full cuts in the fire service had already taken place.

Jackie Coulson, who works for one of Dunelm's suppliers, said: "I just can't believe it, it's surreal."

Jo Softly, of Dixons Retail, said: "Having consulted with the fire department, we are closing the Currys PC World Megastore for the day while we assess damage and ensure the building is safe.

"We are still assessing how long the store will be closed for but we believe damage has been limited by our safety systems."

A Halfords spokesman said: "The store is closed because of smoke.

"We're trying to work with the emergency services to get it reopen again."

Up to 80 firefighters battled the blaze which started in the early hours.

The first crews arrived just after 4.45am and plumes of thick smoke could be seen 20 miles away in Daventry.

The B4110 London Road in Willenhall was closed in both directions between Tollbar Island and the St James’ Lane junction, although the A46 remained open.

Source : Duncan Gibbons – Coventry Telegraph

06 October 2011
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