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Arson confirmed as cause of Indian restaurant fire at Fordham

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Arsonists destroyed an Indian restaurant in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.

Confirmation of the blaze being deliberate came this afternoon in a statement from Cambridgeshire police.

A spokesperson confirmed detectives are now probing “an arson attack on a restaurant in Fordham”.

Police said they received a call reporting a fire at the Indian Garden restaurant, in Church Street, at 5am on Monday.

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“The fire caused a power cut on Church Street Road, and led to the restaurant being structurally unsafe, with the downstairs being destroyed,” said the spokesperson.

Police have confirmed the blaze which destroyed the former Crown public house at Fordham (more recently an Indian restaurant) was deliberate.

Police have confirmed the blaze which destroyed the former Crown public house at Fordham (more recently an Indian restaurant) was deliberate.

PC Lucy Holderness, who is investigating, said: “We are appealing for witnesses or anyone with CCTV in the area who could assist our investigation to get in touch as soon as possible”.

Anyone with information should report it to police online or call 101 and quote the reference number 35/60922/23

The manager of the fire damaged restaurant hit out at a “horrible and negative people” for speculating about the cause of the blaze which ripped through his Fordham premises.

Kay Shah opened the Indian Garden 2 at Church Street, Fordham, two years ago to accompany his long-established Indian Garden 1 at Littleport.

Police have confirmed the blaze which destroyed the former Crown public house at Fordham (more recently an Indian restaurant) was deliberate.

Police have confirmed the blaze which destroyed the former Crown public house at Fordham (more recently an Indian restaurant) was deliberate.

But on Monday two people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire left his Fordham restaurant – a former pub – “very badly damaged and unsafe”.

The fire attracted hostile comments on social media which prompted Mr Shah to respond.

Mr Shah accused some on Facebook of being “horrible and negative people” for speculating about the cause of the fire.

“So many negative comments,” he said. “Really sad how people are these days.”

He added that “we are all safe and sound” and promised updates on the future for his takeaway and restaurant in Fordham.

As the Crown was (left) and today firefighters tackle a major blaze at the Fordham pub now turned Indian restaurant

As the Crown was  and 9right) firefighters tackle a major blaze at the Fordham pub now turned Indian restaurant

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Mr Shah also commented after some made reference to planning consent – won on appeal – for two houses within the car park of the restaurant.

“We are just tenants,” he said. “The houses have nothing to do with us.”

Cllr Julia Huffer, East Cambridgeshire District Council deputy leader and a member for Fordham, said she has already spoken to the council’s building control department about the fire.

“The building is very badly damaged and is unsafe,” she said.

“The fire service have not been able to enter the building and steps are being taken to make the area as safe as possible.

 

“This means that the road is likely to remain closed for the next two to three days until the building is made safe and a full investigation has taken place.

“Can I urge all parents to tell their children to stay away from the building once the emergency services have left the scene as the possibility of harm cannot be ruled out?”

Cllr Huffer added: “This is a very sad day in the history of the Crown.”.

Around 40 firefighters from Cambridge, Cottenham, Burwell, Sawston, along with four appliances from Suffolk fire and Rescue Service responded to the fire after the alarm was raised at 6am today.

Crews were called shortly after 6am to reports of a fire.

Former Crown at Fordham

Former Crown at Fordham

The Crown Inn was a public house until recently but planning permission was granted for a change of use to a restaurant in February 2021.

The Fordham restaurant is in the same ownership as Indian Garden at Littleport which opened in 1997.

The building is Grade II listed and within a conservation area. Parts of it date back to the late 16th century.

Fordham parish council issued a statement saying that “we have been very saddened by the news of the fire at The Crown public house.

“We are asking residents to stay away from the area, this is extremely dangerous and unstable.”

 

 

 

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