Business owner tells of his shock at Portsmouth warehouse fire

21/8/2011 (CB)''Fire engines down at the scene of Scope Bodyshop Ltd in Robinson Way, Portsmouth on Sunday 21st August 2011. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (112991-955)
21/8/2011 (CB)''Fire engines down at the scene of Scope Bodyshop Ltd in Robinson Way, Portsmouth on Sunday 21st August 2011. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (112991-955)

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THE owner of the car repair business completely gutted by fire has described his shock at seeing it go up in flames.

Scott MacDonald, co-owner of Scope Bodyshop on the Airport Industrial Estate in Copnor, Portsmouth, surveyed the wreckage over the weekend.

He told The News: ‘I’m shocked and stunned by what’s happened.’

But Mr MacDonald was too upset to speak further about Friday night’s fire which left the building 90 per cent destroyed.

More than 70 firefighters from across south Hampshire tackled the blaze, which broke out shortly before 8pm.

Firefighters are still investigating the cause. It is not yet known whether the fire was started in an arson attack or by accident.

Fire service spokesman Mark Brittain said: ‘The investigation is still ongoing. At this stage we can’t rule anything in or out.’

Firefighters returned to the scene at about 3.30pm yesterday to deal with a potential flare-up.

Watch manager Kevin Lloyd-Spencer said: ‘The security guard spotted some smoke on his rounds.

‘It was a bit of a hotspot – it was some papers in the first floor section where the offices had been.

‘We pulled it all down and gave it a bit of a drink. If we hadn’t done that it might have flared up again.

‘As to a cause of the original fire, we don’t know what started it.’

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service arson investigators were at the site on Saturday and the police are expected onsite today. Insurance loss assessors Harris Balcombe were also there on Saturday.

Several customers’ vehicles are understood to have been inside the workshop during the fire.

Three vans parked in the neighbouring Portsmouth City NHS Trust facility were completely burnt out.