By Deb Hollywood
Friday 9th September saw a dramatic turn of events in the High Street. Afternoon school buses were diverted via Burgess Hill, and neighbouring shops and flats ere evacuated as a fie broke out at Hurstpierpoint Pet Supplies.
Fire crews arrived swiftly at the scene, as plumes of black smoke filled the sy above. Extinguishing the fie was obviously the priority, and it was a sorrowful sight witnessing residents and shopkeepers unable to re-enter their premises.
By now, no doubt, most residents are aware that, at the time of going to print, the pet shop is closed until further notice. Lee and Andree Tite who run the shop, ably assisted by daughters Tallulah and Roberta, are hoping to open a temporary shop in the village until they are able to return to their original site.
Resident Jacqueline Small responded swiftly, speaking for many, when she suggested creating a Just Giving page online to help Lee and Andree get back on their feet. Additionally, Tony Brown responded by setting up collection buckets at various locations in the High Street. It is a testament to the popularity of the family and the generosity of the community that this fundraising was taken up so positively. Within a week donations exceeded £3,365. Way in excess of the original £500 aim.
Lee and Andree were overwhelmed by the response saying: “We can’t believe all the love! The most important thing is that everyone was safe and managed to get out in time, especially Stella the dog. The fie forensics will hopefully be able to give us some answers.
“The fie has completely ruined the Coop and the back half of our shop, and the rest of the shop is completely black with smoke.”
From the view of the rear of the building it’s clear that the fie service did an amazing job in stopping the fie from spreading further, protecting both lives and premises.
Other village traders have responded by having more of their usual stock available, particularly staple items, to minimise any inconvenience for local shoppers from the closure of the Co-op.
Shoppers should also note that parking in the short-term Brown Twins Road car park has recently increased from two to three hours. Traders hope that customers will stay loyal to local shopping in the meantime.
Lee and Andree have recommended Pet Supplies Sussex in Burgess Hill until they are up on their feet again.
Along with village residents, we at Hurst Life also wish all those afected a speedy return to normality.