VIDEO: A mangled frame - all that’s left after arsonists cause tens of thousands of pounds of damage to plant company’s Wisbech store
- Credit: Archant
Arson has been blamed for a fire which caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to a horticultural shed and sent asbestos shooting into the air.
A mangled frame is all that’s left of the building, which dates back at least 45 years, at Wisbech Plant Company off North Brink in Wisbech following Tuesday night’s blaze.
Fire crews attended the site at around 11pm after staff at the neighbouring care home Conifer Lodge raised the alarm.
Joint company director Ben Tysterman said it was too early to say exactly how much damage had been caused but tens of thousands of pounds was an early estimate; thousands of plastic plant pots, labels and machinery were destroyed.
Mr Tysterman runs Wisbech Plant Company with his brother Edward, and they are the third generation to look after the family firm, which was established in 1933.
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He has been unable to assess the damage fully because of the asbestos involved.
He said the asbestos sheeting, which clad the building, had exploded as the fire hit temperatures of over 700 degrees and the dust is now spread over part of the field at the back of the firm’s premises.
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“We haven’t been able to go and have a proper look or clear up because of the asbestos.
“I’m not sure whether or not it is dangerous but we are not taking any chances until it has been properly assessed,” said Mr Tysterman.
The company grows around 350,000 roses a year over 25 acres and employs four permanent full-time members of staff, as well as seasonal workers.
Mr Tysterman said the fire service and police were blaming arson for the cause of the blaze as the building did not have an electricity supply and there was no other obvious reason for the fire to start.
Fire crews returned to the incident throughout the Wednesday to dampen down and ensure the fire was properly out.
“I have no idea why anyone would want to do something like this.
“It is difficult to even see how they knew the building was there as it is pretty obscured from the road,” concluded Mr Tysterman, who added the fire would not affect the firm’s business.
Anyone with any information should contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.