Barber rescues shop from ruin without any short cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:20 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:57 12 August 2010

FIRE fighters were left amazed after a barbers shop was up and running just 48 hours after it was gutted by smoke damage.

FIRE fighters were left amazed after a barbers' shop was up and running just 48 hours after it was gutted by smoke damage.

Blades Barbers in Orpington High Street was swamped with smoke coming from a flat fire on the floor above last Friday.

Owner Stephen Blackwell got a call to say smoke was billowing out of his shop shortly after 8.30pm. He rushed to the scene to find four crews fighting contain the blaze.

After letting fire fighters into his shop, Mr Blackwell spent several hours mopping up hundreds of gallons of water.

He was told his barbers would be out of action for two weeks, but instead of throwing the towel in he mobilised an army of relatives the next morning to go to work.

Armed with paintbrushes, cloths and buckets they worked all weekend to get the shop ready for Monday morning.

Mr Blackwell said: "It was quite amazing because on Sunday the firemen went past and did a double take.

"They couldn't believe the transformation, it was like Superman coming out of a phone box. We had my parents, my wife's parents, the kids, you name it - the clean up operation was massive.

"There was no way the shop could be closed for two weeks so we just had to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in.

"When the fire safety inspector came round to do the assessment he couldn't believe it and said he's had new buildings that don't score higher."

Unemployed Denise Cooley, 46, of High Street, Orpington, has been charged with Arson with intent to endanger life and has been remanded to appear at Bromley Magistrates Court on Monday.

No information was available from the court at the time of going to press.

A 35-year old man arrested at the scene was released without charge.

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