A wooden shop building on Market Road, below Meryon Court was totally destroyed by fire last Friday, September 6. The fire broke out about around 4:30am and awakened nearby residents in Jarrett’s Close, Gill and Paddy Harvey, who immediately phoned the Fire Brigade.
Smoke set off alarms in Bewick Court, the new apartment building at 51-53 Cinque Ports Street. Anthony Mann, who owns one of the flats, said that the electric supply to the lifts automatically switched off. This would have occasioned considerable difficulty for several of the more immobile residents in evacuating the building, had this proved necessary.
The fire service was promptly in attendance at the shop which used to sell military memorabilia and collectables. The area was cordoned off by the police and their forensic team arrived later that morning to sift through the debris, searching for clues as to the reason for the outbreak.
Gill Harvey added later: “The heat from the fire was intense. There were events leading up to the fire which may or may not be connected. There were noises which sounded like the sliding doors of a van. Noises in the night in Market Road are not uncommon, but they seemed to go on for some time. I heard later that someone had been identified on CCTV and had been arrested. I feel very upset for the man who has lost his livelihood as a result of the fire”.
The police later announced that Mark Page, 52, unemployed of Mount Pleasant Road, Hastings has been charged with arson with intent on October 6 at the Collector’s Corner in Rye. He appeared at Brighton magistrates’ Court on Saturday October 7, charged also in connection with the earlier burglary at The Black Sheep in the Mint, Rye.
Photos: Paddy Harvey and Kenneth Bird