Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford comic shop fire: Thousands of issues destroyed

Smoke Image copyright Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The damage to the Close Encounters store room was discovered when staff arrived on Thursday morning

About £15,000 worth of comics and merchandise has been ruined after a fire in a shop.

The entire stock in the Close Encounters store room, in the centre of Bedford, was severely damaged after a fire on Wednesday night.

Jeff Chahal, the business's co-owner, said thousands of comics have been left "unsellable" due to fire damage.

He said he does not know exactly what has been lost, as he is still sorting through the items.

"We are just getting on with it, we will re-stock as soon as possible," he said.

Image copyright Bub Chahal
Image caption There are only a "nominal" amount of items that can be salvaged, said Mr Chahal
Image copyright Bub Chahal
Image caption The family-run business sells comics and graphic novels

He was trying to stay positive and said the destroyed comics are not "worth crying over" as it is more a case of "quantity over quality", but most importantly, no-one was hurt.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue confirmed it was called on Thursday morning, to the store in Allhallows, after a fire had broken out overnight.

It said Mr Chahal had followed "the golden rules of fire safety" and had closed his fire door, meaning the fire was contained and did not spread to the front of the shop which the public use.

Image copyright Bub Chahal
Image caption 'Black soot' got into every little bit of paper, said the shops co-owner

Watch commander Steve Cusack, said: "The fire extinguished itself due to a lack of oxygen and a major factor in this was the fire door, which had been closed and prevented further spread, aiding the suffocation of the fire."

The fire was accidental and is believed to be an electrical fault, the fire service said.

The shop has since re-opened, but Mr Chahal said as the family-run business has lost all of its internet stock, they can no longer trade online.

"We will continue, we have been here for 16 years and we are not going anywhere," he added.

Image copyright Bub Chahal
Image caption The Allhallows shop is still open for business

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