Fire investigators are looking into the cause of a fire which tore through a shopping centre car park in Corby last night (Tuesday, December 30).
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service say they are hoping to establish the cause later today (Wednesday).
Last night, fire crews from Corby, Kettering, Daventry, Moulton, Thrapston and Burton Latimer and assisted by colleagues from Leicestershire, tackled the blaze at the Willow Place Shopping Centre after being alerted at about 6.12pm.
Roads around the scene of the blaze were cordoned off by police officers.
Town centre manager Dan Pickard, speaking to the Northants Telegraph at the scene last night, said the blaze was out by about 7.45pm.
He added: “Police are investigating and my team is assisting where they can. Key holders from the shops affected are coming in.”
Mr Pickard confirmed that there was significant damage to shops and a service area in Willow Place.
This morning (Wednesday) several shops remain closed including Evans, River Island, Burton and Dorothy Perkins. The multi-storey car park is also shut.
Mr Pickard revealed much of the stock had suffered smoke and water damaged and would have to be thrown away.
Many shops in Willow Place had already closed when the fire began, although the car park was open as normal.
There are building sites next to the scene of the fire, one for a new gym and one for the demolition of Crown House. At the back of the car park is the entrance to Willow Place and Queen’s Square.
There is also a block of flats, and police at the scene said their first priority had been to evacuate people inside.
A Willow Place employee received treatment at the scene for minor smoke inhalation, but did not need to be taken to hospital.
All residents returned to the flats later in the evening.
Westcott Way was closed well into the night and Anne Street and Willow Place were also temporarily closed off by police while the emergency services continued their investigation.
Corby Borough Council leader Tom Beattie praised those involved in the operation.
Last night, he tweeted to say: “Just visited scene of fire with @CorbyBC Chief Exec. Spoke to police, fire service and residents. Pulling together in typical Corby style.”
This morning, he added: “I hope that the quick and effective response by the emergency services will have limited the damage.”
Cllr Beattie also said the authority would do what it could to help Willow Place deal with the damage caused.
Read more Corby news here.