The community response to Monday’s devastating Kettering blaze has been praised.
The listed three-storey Kettering Bedding Centre unit in Regent Street was destroyed by a fire at about 12.30pm on May 13.
Fears over the safety of the structure mean a section of the street is still cordoned off with some families unable to return home.
But within hours of the fire the community started pulling together to support those evacuated.
READ MORE: Kettering shop gutted by fire
A Facebook group called ‘Support for those affected by Kettering blaze 2019’ was created by Nikki Mander and Leanne Weatherley to centralise offers of support and donations.
Nikki, who was driving when she saw smoke billowing across the town, said: “Everyone has pulled together, it’s been fantastic.
“It restores your faith in mankind.”
READ MORE: Kettering shop owner fled burning building
The group now has almost 700 members but donations, which can be dropped off at St Andrew’s Church in Lindsay Street, are still needed.
Items include pots, pans, plates, cutlery, duvets and sheets. For a full list of what’s needed for each family visit the Facebook group here.
Some residents were briefly allowed inside their home today to pick up items.
Kettering Bedding Centre is destroyed but the council said damage to nearby homes has been ‘generally minor’.
Two properties immediately adjacent to the store have sustained some fire and water damage although the extent of this will only become clear when surveyors are able to safely access the buildings.
A Kettering Council spokesman said: “Structural engineers have inspected the building today and are formulating a plan of action so that the structure is made safe and residents are able to return to their homes at the earliest opportunity.”
Nikki said it could still be a few weeks until some families are allowed home.
She said: “There are still people out there with next to nothing.
“They went to work that morning expecting to come home.”
As well as generous donations from the public town shops have also given their support.
Sainsbury’s almost opposite Regent Street gave away a number of items and a manager at Asda who was unable to authorise giving items away paid for them out of their own pocket to donate them.
Nikki asked any other companies who are able to donate to do so.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.