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Video: Road reopens after flat fire traffic chaos
Published 25/04/13



Duke Street in Henley has reopened following a fire in a flat above two shops this afternoon (Thursday).

Click here to watch our video report from the scene of the fire.

Duke Street in Henley has reopened following a fire in a flat above two shops this afternoon (Thursday).

Black smoke could be seen billowing out of the windows above Laurence menswear and The Sole Man cobblers at about 3.30pm.

Police closed off the road at its junctions with Greys Road and Hart Street as crowds started to gather. The road was closed until shortly after 5pm.

Three fire engines arrived on the scene. An ambulance was called but it is unclear if anyone is hurt.

Jonathan Taylor, of Greys Road, Henley, said the lady who owns the flat, Kristina, occasionally looks after his eight-year-old daughter Alicia, a pupil at Trinity School, after school.

He said he was coming back he was coming back from Reading when he saw the smoke coming out the window of the two-bedroom flat.

“You can imagine my horror as I was walking down the road and thought she was in the building,” said Mr Taylor, 41.

“Thankfully she wasn’t in there. She had been walking back from school when she got to the building and saw the smoke coming out. She didn’t go in and was fine.”

An employee in Rudi Kartal said the woman who owned the flat ran into the salon with her sister, daughter and her daughter’s friend.

She didn’t speak English and spoke to fire officers through her sister.

The employee said: “She was obviously quite concerned about her flat. She barely said a word to us, just used the toilet and was panicking about the fire engine not turning up.

“The two young girls were quite spooked and scared.”

Zsombor Darabam, 27, who lives in the second-floor flat above, believed the fire had been in the kitchen.

Mr Darabam, a chef at Loch Fyne in the Market Place, said: “I smelt the smoke and someone was ringing the doorbell. It was heavy smoke inside.”

A number of shops had to evacuate as police officers arrived on the scene.

Jason Kempton, who owns The Sole Man, dialled 999 after a passer-by alerted him.

He said: “When he told me there was smoke coming out I then smelt it. I work in a shop with a lot of nasty smells so I didn’t notice it initially but then I heard the fire alarm.”

Tim O’Sullivan, who owns Sullivans menswear shop, opened an entrance at the back of his shop to fire officers so they could get to the roof.

He said it was “annoying” having to close his shop on a sunny day when he could have expected good business.

Laurence Morris, who owns menswear shop Laurence, said he was waiting for an inspection of his shop from the fire brigade before he knew whether he had received any damage.

He said: “Thankfully no one was hurt and that’s the important thing.”

Ann Hale, a receptionist at The Morgan Clinic, said: “We saw smoke coming out the window and a lot of people outside on the street. Police then told us to go outside.”

Lucy Tooher, 25, had agreed a sale on the flat next door.

She said: “Thankfully it hasn’t gone through yet. We want to have a look at the flat to see if it’s okay.

“The fire service took about 25 minutes to arrive. The Berkshire fire engine arrived before the two Oxfordshire engines.”

For the full story, pick up a copy of next week’s Standard.


Published 25/04/13

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