Evacuated families coming to terms with Kettering fire aftermath

Those evacuated after a fire tore through a Kettering shop say they don’t know when they’ll be able to return home.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 12:53 pm
The scene this morning (Wednesday). NNL-190515-124809005
The scene this morning (Wednesday). NNL-190515-124809005

Kettering Bedding Centre in Regent Street went up in flames at about 12.30pm on Monday (May 13), with nine households left needing temporary accommodation.

Fire crews left the scene last night with the destroyed structure in the hands of Kettering Council. A cordon around the shop remains in place with a section of the road closed to traffic and pedestrians.

One household affected is Caroline Grange’s family, who live opposite the bedding shop.

The scene this morning (Wednesday). NNL-190515-124809005

They were put in temporary accommodation after seeking refuge at St Andrew’s Church in Lindsay Street, where about 50 people unable to access their homes were gathered with refreshments and pizza.

Caroline, 55, said: “They do not know [when we can go home]. They said it would be a while but how long is a while?

“Everyone was anxious and crying. It was horrible.”

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Large Fire: Kettering: Kettering Bedding Centre, fire at business in Regent Street, Kettering. Fire and Police on scene Monday, May 13th 2019 NNL-190513-153719009

Caroline was at work when the fire took hold but her husband Mark, 62, and sons Jack (28), Ollie (18) and Alex (13) were at home with their dog Katie, a retriever, and cat Garfield.

She described the moment she returned to the chaos with police, fire crews and ambulances at the scene.

She said: “I got off the bus and the roads were absolutely chocca.

“People were going crazy. I started to panic.

Two roads closed and residents evacuated following fire at Kettering Bedding Centre building., Regent Street, Kettering Monday 13 May 2019. Picture by Terry Harris. NNL-190514-101116005

“I rang my husband and he said he was still in the house but that the windows were getting hotter.

“That’s when the fire brigade started to evacuate people.”

Caroline said her home has been unaffected by the blaze but other neighbours weren’t so lucky.

Caroline Grange. NNL-190515-124820005

The Granges were given a food parcel to use at their temporary base but said they have nothing to use it with such as a kettle, toaster, microwave and cutlery.

All they managed to get from their house before it was cordoned off was two sheets, some underwear and their pets.

She estimated they’ve spent about £135 so far on food and basics to keep them going.

She said: “The adrenaline kicks in and you know you have to keep going but when you start to think about it your bottom lip starts trembling.

“How much longer can we take this? We can’t keep spending money.”

A Facebook group set up to help those affected by the group, which can be found here, has already attracted more than 400 members and dozens of offers of support.

Caroline thanked Nick and Amy from the church for their support.

It’s understood a meeting was set to take place this morning to decide what to do with the remains of the three-storey unit, where the roof caved in.

A council spokesman said those living in the cordoned off houses will be able to pick up items from their homes under supervision soon.

The spokesman said: “Structural engineers are on site this morning to assess nearby properties.

“Following these assessments, the council’s housing options team will contact those currently unable to access their homes to arrange specific appointments for them to pick up items, under supervision.

“We will continue to work closely with those affected to keep them safe and up to date.”

An investigation into the cause of the blaze is onging.