Allerton barber fears damage from fire at former Seabrook factory could ruin his business

Firefighters tackle the factory fire on Monday night

Damage left by the fire at the former Seabrook crisps factory in Allerton

Damage left by the fire at the former Seabrook crisps factory in Allerton

First published in News
Last updated

A barber is worried his business of 42 years could close because of damage caused by a blaze at a derelict factory next door.

Gerardo Chirola, 74, described the fire that destroyed the third floor and roof of the former Seabrook crisp factory in Allerton, Bradford, on Monday as “like a volcano”.

His business Gerardo International adjoins the derelict factory in Allerton Road and suffered extensive damage.

His roof, which he described as only a couple of years old, was showered with glass and debris, his shop smelled of smoke, and his ceiling was bowing under pressure of water left over from fighting the fire.

Mr Chirola said it would cost him at least £2,500 to fix the roof and that he had been advised not to use the electricity supply because of the water. Wearing a mask, he spent yesterday cleaning up and drying his shop.

“I am losing my business,” he said. “I could be shut for a couple of weeks at least. I could lose £100 a day, it depends. It could put me out of business.”

He added: “I feel really bad because I cannot work.”

Mr Chirola said he lives near to his business and that someone alerted him to the fire, which took hold at about 9.45pm on Monday.

“It was like a volcano,” he said. “All the debris came down on to my roof. The smell is shocking, the water is in there, and I cannot put the electric on because I was told it could cause an explosion.”

Mr Chirola also said he was worried about possible danger posed by partially smashed windows looming over his shop from the factory.

“The windows are very dangerous,” said Mr Chirola. “They could smash on to heads of people walking by, or on to my roof.”

About 30 firefighters from six stations – Fairweather Green, Bradford, Illingworth, Bingley, Odsal and Shipley – tackled the blaze and put it out by about 11.45pm. Police closed Allerton Road between Ley Top Lane and Denby Lane.

No-one was hurt in the fire and crews managed to prevent the flames spreading to Mr Chirola’s business and others.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation last night.

One man said people were constantly breaking into the site to steal scrap metal, despite efforts to secure the area. He said: “People have been targeting it for scrap thefts, which leaves the site open for kids to get in.”

Someone is believed to have cut through fencing on the Allerton Road side to gain entry to the site on Monday prior to the fire starting.

Jonathan Bye, chief executive of Seabrook, said the company’s priority was making sure the building, which it still own, was safe and secure. Seabrook moved from its Allerton factory to premises in Lidget Green, Bradford, several years ago.

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