Salvage underway at Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds following devastating fire
The salvage operation at Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds has begun with the fires still burning deep under the rubble.
The fire from the 17th century building which served as Italian restaurant Strada, is now thought to have spread both to neighbouring shop Sahara, and to the cellars running underneath the streets.
Part of the front of the historic Cupola House, which is a grade I listed building on par with Royal Albert Hall, was being removed last night and this morning.
But there was some optimism.
Pat Dacey, district commander West for Suffolk Fire Service said: “Less than 10 per cent of the front facade has been taken away. At the moment we are optimistic that the front facade has been saved.
“Essentially it is the top left hand window that the wall around it that we have removed, but none of the important historical elements have been taken away deliberately, although some have been damaged in the fire.
“The Cupola itself is on the top of Jessops but looks like it could be salvaged.”
Scaffolding is due to go up around the front of the building. Firefighters are then hoping to get to the remaining pockets of fire, buried under the collapsed ceilings and floors.
The blaze started in the kitchen in the basement at around 8.50pm on Saturday – 120 staff and customers inside were evacuated unhurt.
The collapse of parts of the building at the back at front saw more than 40 businesses close on Sunday.
A dozen shops remain closed this morning although it is hoped that some will reopen later today and that most will be open by tomorrow.
Sahara is relocating to Cornhill Walk shopping centre, while Cmdr Dacey said Harriets, Mr Shoes and Toni and Guy would remain closed until the risk of any collapse at the front of the building has been assured.
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Weather for Bury St Edmunds
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west