Northampton

Kettering fire: Bed shop to be demolished while residents wait to return home

Kettering Bedding Centre fire aftermath
Image caption The Kettering Bedding Centre had been in the former shoe factory on Regent Street since 1970

A bed shop which caught fire last week will have to be demolished, while neighbouring residents are still waiting to return to their homes.

The Kettering Bedding Centre burnt down after a fire on Monday, 13 May.

Kettering Borough Council said the Grade II-listed building would have to be pulled down.

One neighbour who had had to leave her home said she did not know when they would be allowed back and that it felt "like our house has burned down".

Amanda, who did not wish to give her surname, said: "Anything I need is that house, if you cut your finger you haven't got a plaster."

She said she has been given "perfectly adequate" emergency accommodation in the Northamptonshire town.

About 20 homes were evacuated on Regent Street.

Residents described the fire as "immense" and praised helpers at the nearby St Andrew's Church, who had been "amazing" in supporting people who had been made homeless.

Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption Eyewitnesses described "30ft flames" at the height on the fire on Monday last week

Kettering Borough Council officer Martin Hammond said it was the "biggest incident we've had to deal with" in his 30 years at the authority.

He said the building was in "pretty poor condition" and it would have to be demolished "either whole or in part".

'Devastating'

Mr Hammond said the demolition would take "two to three weeks" and anticipated families would be allowed to permanently return home about a week into the demolition.

He also said those whose homes have been evacuated would not have to pay any rent or council tax for the first two weeks, and that would be reviewed if they were still unable to return home after that.

Image caption The building was Grade II-listed in 2004 and the council has been meeting with Historic England over the state of the building

The Reverend Nick Wills from St Andrew's Church, which was used as a shelter on the day of the fire, said it was "staggering" the fire service could contain the blaze.

He said it was "devastating" the business lost its premises but "the fact they've saved Regent Street as a residential street is amazing".

Investigations continue into the cause of the fire.

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