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Sunday 19 May 2019

'People are fearing for their jobs' - Five business premises 'destroyed' in 'malicious' fire at retail park

The building was set on fire in the early hours of Monday morning Photo: Ger Lacey
The building was set on fire in the early hours of Monday morning Photo: Ger Lacey
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

An electric cigarette store was among the five business premises "totally destroyed" following a suspected arson attack at a retail centre in Gorey, Co Wexford.

The incident happened at the Ambassador Park on the Arklow Road in the early hours of Monday morning.

Gardai believe the fire was "maliciously" started and investigations are ongoing.

CCTV footage circulating online appears to show a man dousing the building in petrol before setting it alight.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and battled to stop it spreading to the nearby petrol station.

Residents in the area have been left in shock and are thankful nobody was injured.

'Business as usual' Photo: Superior Vape Facebook
'Business as usual' Photo: Superior Vape Facebook

However, business owners are now counting their losses and staff are fearing for their jobs after the fire caused the roof of each property to cave in.

Roisin Hearns, owner of Curves gym, told that they now have to relocate to a new premises.

"We didn’t think it had affected us as from the outside it looked like no damage was done, but then we went inside the place was destroyed from the water used trying to put out the fire," she said.

"There’s a load of people fearing they might be unemployed now. It’s unbelievable how someone could be so malicious and not think about the impact on families and their lives.

"We went in the next morning and my little girl was with me, and we have a picture of her staring at the damage in shock."

Roisin Hearns' daughter looks on at the damage to her mother's business

An electric cigarette shop, a Polski Sklep and a Cash 4 Clothes store were all destroyed in the fire.

The Superior Vape Company posted on Facebook to say they are now operating out of a container.

They aim to have a card machine working in the coming days and are hoping to rebuild the original unit over time.

Local Fine Gael councillor Anthony Donoghue said the fire is devastating for the area.

"I shop in the service station right beside it, it's probably only 40ft away from the pumps so I have to commend the fire service for their response as it could have been catastrophic.

"Luckily it was spotted in time. I understand the gardai are treating it as suspicious. It's devastating on the workers in the shops."

A garda spokesman said: "Gardaí and emergency services attended an incident of criminal damage by fire to a premises at the Ambassador Retail Pk, Arklow Rd, Gorey. The incident occurred on the 10th September 2018 at approximately 1.50am. Investigations are ongoing."

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