East Ham shop owner ‘heartbroken’ after fire devastates family business
PUBLISHED: 19:09 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 19:25 09 December 2016
The owner of a family-run furniture business says he has been left “heartbroken” after a fire completely gutted his premises.
Lee Powis, who has run Comfy Beds in East Ham for 25 years, was awoken at 6am today by a friend who told him “your shop has burnt down”.
Speaking outside the burnt-out building in High Street South earlier, the 55-year-old said he had lost “tens of thousands” worth of stock in addition to personal items.
He said: “I just want my shop back. It is more than a shop, it is my little baby, it is my passion.”
Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were called to the blaze at 3.24am this morning.
The fire was eventually brought under control at 5.53am but not before it had devastated the shop and caused damage to a church venue above and adjacent security firm at the back.
Comfy Beds is a familiar landmark in the East Ham community with its prominent branding.
“It is all my life’s work which has gone up. It is your worst nightmare,” said Lee.
Several members of the community said they were also saddened by what had happened.
Nabi Nusrat, who comforted Lee and his wife Sam along with other passerbys, said she always got her beds from the business.
“It is a good place so I am so shocked,” she said.
Neighbour Glen Parkes said he had passed by the shop last night at 12.30am but all seemed well.
“I think it is important to find a way of getting Lee’s business back,” he said. “It is devastating for the area.”
Steven Wright, who knows Lee as a fellow musician as well as customer, described him as “just the nicest” and added “no-one deserves this”.
Police confirmed they had been called to reports of a commercial fire at 4am and the scene was closed at 11am.
A Met Police spokesman said: “Enquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.”
Anyone with information should contact PC Lewis Smith on 020 8217 3753 or via 101.
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