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Shop gutted by freak fire

On Friday 27 December, Caledon resident and shop owner Tahir Khan, as per usual, closed up his business to attend Friday juma’a prayers at the local mosque.

About half an hour into the prayers he got an urgent call from a neighbour, which he ignored. But its persistence made Khan answer it, only to be told his Donkin Street shop was on fire.

Relating what happened to the Gazette, he said: “When I got the news a friend and I ran to the shop, and I opened up and saw fire and lots of smoke. Because of the huge amount of smoke I decided to close the door and not let anybody in, as it could be potentially very dangerous. There were many burning boxes in the shop and the wooden ceiling was also on fire.”

The local Traffic Department closed off Donkin Street to allow the fire engines unhindered access to the building to extinguish the fire. Nothing in the shop could be saved.

Establishing the business in 2010, Khan dealt mainly in new cellphones and phone repairs. For now he is operating from temporary premises next door to Beehive Supermarket, but hopes to return to his original shop once it is repaired.

The premises next door to Khan’s shop, which houses the business Finbond and shares a dividing wall with it, was also affected.

Finbond manager Anne Windvogel said initially she was not even aware there was a fire next door.

“We suddenly saw a lot of smoke,” she recalled, “and when we ran out, leaving everything behind, the fire engines were already busy outside. Our electricity supply box, which is on the wall next to the burning shop, caught fire. Even though we currently have no electricity and operate a generator to carry on with our business we are extremely lucky, for no documents, paperwork or computers were damaged. We are also very grateful to the firemen who brought our handbags out, because we had left them behind in our rush to get out.”

On Thursday, an employee confirmed Finbond’s power had been restored.

•It is believed an electrical fault may have caused the fire, but this could not be confirmed at the time of going to print.

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