Allotment owners left heartbroken by devastating fire

editorial image

The owners of an Ilkeston allotment say they are devastated after a fire ripped through the plot causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The blaze happened on Thursday, April 27, on the private Ash Street allotments in Cotmanhay.

Adrian Drew and his family have cared for the plot for six years, and are now heartbroken that all their hard work has been undone.

Adrian, 46, said: “It’s just devastating. It’s a massive setback after everything we’ve put in.

“There’s no money in growing, you never get it back. You do it for the love.”

Fire officers are still working to establish the full facts of the incident, but early indications suggest there are no suspicious circumstances.

It quickly spread and although the fire service was soon on the scene, Adrian’s plot had been the worst affected.

Fortunately, the fire was put out before it could reach the area where Adrian’s chickens were roosting.

He said: “It’s completely destroyed our polytunnel, caravan and the shed where we kept all our tools.

“It’s probably a couple of thousand pounds just in tools, and we had no insurance.”

Ann Shoebridge, whose home on Norman Street backs on to the allotments, was one of the first to raise the alarm.

She said: “One of my neighbours had opened a window before she went to bed and smelled smoke.

“She looked out and saw the flames and then called me in a panic thinking it was actually a tree at the bottom of my garden.”

Ann was one of several neighbours to call the fire service, who arrived within minutes and spent nearly an hour tackling the blaze.

She said: “My neighbour is a carer for her brother with Down’s Syndrome, and they were both very distressed by the situation.”

The police were also called out due to initial suspicions of possible arson.

She said: “Maybe it was an accident, but I don’t know how it could have started. There’s no electricity running to the allotments or anything like that.”

Ann’s property survived unscathed, but she says the fire could have been much worse.

She said: “I had a look afterwards and there was a gas cannister near to where the fire was raging.

“If that had gone up it could have gone through anyone’s window. It could have caused terrible damage.”