THE owners of a Turkish Barbers which was destroyed in a malicious blaze just one week after it opened have thanked the people of Antrim for their support.
The blaze left both the family and their beloved business ‘gutted’, but they have vowed that the shop will rise from the ashes.
Firefighters, some of them wearing breathing apparatus, raced to the scene on Monday evening - and they were met with a raging inferno.
While some braved the suffocating smoke to fight the flames that threatened to consume the shop and its neighbours, others hosed down burning tyres which had been dragged from with the shop.
Another tyre was later found under a pool table, though it had failed to ignite.
The destruction was absolute. Fixtures and fittings that had been gleaming that afternoon were lost to the fire. All that remained was twisted metal, ruined equipment and blackened walls - a depressing monument to senseless waste.
Though the police are not treating the fire as a hate crime, that will be cold comfort for the owners who had spent several weeks fitting out their premises at huge personal expense.
But what undoubtedly did make a difference was the groundswell of sympathy and support that the blaze sparked.
*Read the full story in this week’s Antrim Guardian