A FIRE at a Bath Street shop reported to have caused £50,000 worth of damage was started by a stray spark.
Ilkeston’s main shopping street was cordoned off near Timpsons on Saturday after smoke filled the shoe repair and key cutting store.
Neighbouring shops were evacuated and around 20 firefighters and four fire engines were on scene to put out the blaze.
Louise McAllister, manager of next door shop John’s News, said: “We saw the smoke and heard loud popping and banging sounds so we evacuated with the customers who were in the shop at the time through the back door.
“When we got outside there was thick black smoke, it was pretty scary.
“We saw the man from Timpsons so knew he was ok and he said there was no one else in the shop which was a relief.
“We were closed for two hours while everything was going on and getting sorted.”
It is thought that the fire started after a cobbler in the store was using a machine to repair shoes.
As he worked he started to smell burning, when he checked the machine there was smoke billowing out of it he used a fire extinguisher to try and stop it spreading but it was too late and he was forced to evacuate.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fire crews from Ilkeston, Heanor, Nottingham Road in Derby and Eastwood responded to a call about a fire at a commercial property on Bath Street.
“On arrival firefighters found the ground floor shop was heavily smoke logged.
“The area around the property was cordoned off and police were also in attendance.”