Co-op in Westbourne will close for the ‘foreseeable future’ after blaze

The fire at the Westbourne Co-op. Picture by Kate Shemilt C121150-2

The fire at the Westbourne Co-op. Picture by Kate Shemilt C121150-2

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THE Co-op store and Post Office in Westbourne which was severely damaged by fire this morning (Monday, September 3) will be closed for the foreseeable future.

The blaze started at about 8.30am in a ground floor store room at the store in The Square, Westbourne.

Two fire engines from Havant and one from Chichester went to tackle the fire. Six firefighters used breathing apparatus to put out the blaze, which was out by about 10.30am.

The store will be closed for the foreseeable future but in the meantime, The Southern Co-operative (TSC) will provide free transport for its customers to shop at its neighbouring store in Emsworth.

Phil Ponsonby, The Southern Co-operative’s chief operating officer (food) said: “Fortunately no one was hurt in the fire.

“We are proud of our colleagues who ensured the safety of customers and fellow colleagues by evacuating the store quickly.”

He added: “The Southern Co-operative store and Post Office is very important to the Westbourne community so we’ll be making every effort to reopen as soon as possible. In the meantime, from Tuesday (4 September) we have organised a free coach to take shoppers from outside the Westbourne store to Emsworth TSC until we can reopen at Westbourne.”

The coach service will run daily except Sundays, departing every hour on the hour from 9am and returning from Emsworth at half past every hour until 5.30pm.

A spokeswoman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a fire investigation team had been called to the store to determine what started the fire.

No-one was believed to be injured in the fire.