September 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 19, 2014
A shopkeeper may lose his Belsize Park business after it was ravaged by a “suspicious” fire at the weekend.
Police are investigating after Good For You went up in flames in the early hours of Sunday, as football fans made their way home from England’s World Cup match with Italy.
The Haverstock Hill shop was gutted in the blaze, which took hold at about 2am and destroyed toys, party decorations and household goods. Manager Ahmed Shweik said he does not know whether the building can be salvaged for the store to reopen.
“I had a phone call at 2am and I got there 15 minutes later,” he said. “Police and fire engines were all around, but they could not do much.
“Luckily no-one got hurt, that’s the main thing. We had lots of stock, so many things, I can’t say how much it was all worth.”
Fire crews were called after a neighbour spotted a burning bin behind the building.
Twenty-one firefighters battled for about two hours before the inferno was under control.
It is the second time the emergency services have visited Good For You in under 12 months.
Armed police attended after a customer threatened to shoot Mr Shweik before beating him with a stick in September last year.
The man was convicted of racially aggravated common assault in April. He was given a 10-week suspended sentence and issued with a restraining order.
Photographer Ron Vester, who lives nearby in Haverstock Hill, said: “The young fellow who works there is a terrific guy, everyone likes him. Everything is burnt to a cinder.”
Smoke damage spread to a nearby florist and opticians Optique 20 20, also in Haverstock Hill.
Optique 20 20’s manager, who witnessed the blaze, said: “The ferocity of it was quite shocking, you could hear it popping, screeching and the sound of little explosions.” Police confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious. A spokesman said enquiries continue and no arrests have been made.
Later on Sunday, a woman escaped from another fire in a flat in Adelaide Road, Swiss Cottage, shortly after 10pm.
She was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
The cause is under investigation.