“WE have lost everything.”

The owners of an Ilminster joinery have spoken of feeling “completely helpless” as they watched their 27-year-old business ravaged by fire.

On Tuesday, September 1, fire crews battled a fire at a building on the Rose Mills Industrial Estate in Ilminster, in a unit adjacent to A&C Joinery.

The fire spread to the joinery, leaving owners Linda and Chris Russell devastated.

“Even though there were around 10 fire appliances working on the buildings, the fire spread to our workshop and the engineering workshop on the other side of the building to where the fire initially started, leaving both of our business premises destroyed,” they said.

“We lost most of the contents and machinery.

“It was so difficult to watch and we felt completely helpless.

“We’ve been trading from the unit for 27 years, and we have lost everything.”

The pair received a phone call from a tenant at Rose Mills Industrial Estate at around 5.45pm last Tuesday.

Mr and Mrs Russell knew their workshop would be at risk so they rush to the site – to see that the fire from the unit behind theirs was headed towards their building.

“We have run our business from the Rose Mills Industrial Estate for the last 27 years and both of us are completely devastated that we have lost all our hard work and livelihood,” Mr and Mrs Russell added.

“Over the years we have completed lots of work in Ilminster and the surrounding area and have a good client base and reputation for work of high quality.

“We must now take a deep breath, gather ourselves and work hard to secure the future of the business.

“We are looking at replacement premises and with the support and help of our amazing and dedicated team we hope to be operational again very soon.

“We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to our family, friends, clients and lovely people of the area for helping us over the last few days.”

Red Watch and White Watch, as well as on-call firefighters from Taunton, attended the fire.

Crews from Chard, Ilminster, Crewkerne, Yeovil, Ottery St Mary and Axminster were also sent to the incident, at just after 5.30pm.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "The roof of the property has been 100 per cent damaged by fire, and there was 60 per cent smoke and water damage to the interior of the building."

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