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Northfleet builders' yard open for business after massive fire
A Northfleet builders’ yard hit by a massive fire is open for business again despite taking a seven figure financial hit.
Discount Builders Merchants has been unable to put an exact number on the value of the stock and machinery lost after a blaze ripped through a two-storey warehouse.
Fire crews were called at 1am on May 20 to find the building in Lower Road disintegrating amid flames which required 80 firefighters to bring them under control.
Five HGVs, four forklift trucks and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of plaster board, treated timber and insulation material were lost as the 1,000sqm building burned to the ground.
The company, which also has premises in Rochester, has been up and-running again at the Northfleet site since yesterday – around a week after firefighters vacated having spent more than 24 hours at the scene.
The scene at the yard on May 20.
Manager Sanjeev Mall, 38, told News Shopper: "I couldn’t believe it.
"I came on the Tuesday evening and even then I couldn’t believe the sight I was seeing but what a difference a week makes.
"Obviously it was painful to see a business go up in smoke but we have all pulled together to keep things going.
"From the moment it happened everyone’s been thinking about how we are going to get things back on track again."
All that is left now of the 50m by 20m building which once took up a large portion of the three acre site is the charred remains of a couple of forklifts.
All that's left of two forklift trucks.
A makeshift office has been erected and a temporary storage hangar is under construction with customers once more flowing in and out of the 25-year-old business, which has been operating on the site for three years.
Co-owner Jag Singh, 30, said: "We have had clean-up crews working 24 hours a day.
"We spend a lot of time at work so when it all went up we felt was shock and disbelief but the main thing is to stay positive.
"What’s happened has happened and we have just got it done.
The site of the fire today.
"Everyone that works here is mentally strong. We all know each other and we have all worked here for a long time."
Two HGVs were saved but the other five were completely destroyed.
The company hopes to have a new permanent warehouse built within two months.
Kent Police is still investigating the cause of the fire.
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