Businesses are left in ruins after fire

A fire ravaged three Matlock businesses in the middle of the night – leaving their owners to pick up the pieces afterwards.

The blaze started in Dale Opticians, in Dale Road, shortly after midnight on Thursday.

It then spread to Chubb and Co solicitors above the opticians and Stones restaurant, in the basement below.

The restaurant was half way through a major redevelopment, in which an extension was being added in order to make the most of its riverside location.

Owners Jade Himsworth and Kevin Stone, who live in Derby, were made aware that the restaurant alarm was sounding at 12.40am.

Upon arrival at his business at 1.15am, Kevin found firefighters tackling the flames, as police blocked off the road from Crown Sqaure.

Crews used breathing apparatus and hose reel jets to extinguish the blaze, which was finally put out at about 3am.

The old part of the restaurant was destroyed, with sections of the ceiling falling down and piles of rubble throughout.

However thanks to a very effective fire door the new extension was unharmed, meaning builders can continue work on it.

John Southgate, who owns Dale Opticians, arrived at work as usual on Thursday morning to find it boarded up.

“I didn’t know anything when I arrived,” he said. “There were builders at work downstairs and they told me what had happened.

“It’s mostly smoke damage but it’s worse downstairs and upstairs because the fire went through the floor boards.”

The fire service believes the blaze was started by a faulty heater.

John is uncertain how long his business will be closed, however he has set up a table in the Black Cat Cafe, in the Courtyard, off Dale Road, where people can pick up their prescriptions.

Jade said: “It could have been a lot worse. We’ll come back from this with a bigger, brighter Stones.”