Shotton garage business destroyed in suspected arson attack
A garage in Shotton Colliery has been ‘destroyed’ after an overnight blaze.
Emergency services were called to Unit 4 on Thornley Station Industrial Estate in Shotton Colliery just after 2 am on Tuesday, May 25.
Durham Police have said several cars stored in the unit were destroyed in the blaze, which is being treated as an arson.
Two fire crews from Peterlee attended the incident and the fire was contained by 3.41 am.
But the garage has been put ‘out of business’ following the incident, which has ‘completely’ destroyed the premises.
Jason Cleary, who runs the business with Jon Campbell has said that they had been at the site for around three weeks after moving from a smaller premises on the same industrial estate when the fire happened.
The 25-year-old from Peterlee said: “It makes you feel a bit helpless because you get there and there is literally nothing you can do other than watch years of your life go in flames.
"It makes you feel a bit sick to your stomach, because I don’t know what to do with myself in all honesty.
"It’s all I’ve known seven days a week in the past two years.
Adding that the fire had also destroyed essential equipment and custom-made parts, Jason said: “Everything literally has to be started from scratch again.”
He continued: “The premises itself wasn’t really used beforehand so we’ve been in, fully cleaned the place, painted it all, so it was nice and fresh for us to move in.”
There were five vehicles inside the garage when the fire happened, including Jon’s car.
A couple of the vehicles weren’t insured, putting additional financial strain.
Lindsey Cleary, who is Jason’s mum, said: "It’s so destroying having this on your head financially as well as everything else.”
Now a fundraiser has rallied around Jason and Jon in the hope to help raise money to rebuilt the unit.
Tom Scott, 19, who launched the fundraiser, has said Jason has been his mechanic since he first got a car.
Tom said : "I was honestly devastated. I was literally in tears.
The apprentice from Consett added: “I started the GoFundMe not only to raise awareness of what happened, but to also get some support behind them.”
A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: “Police were called at 2.15am on May 25 to reports of a large fire at an industrial unit on Thornley Station Industrial Estate, in Shotton Colliery.
“Several cars that were stored in the unit were destroyed in the blaze, which officers are treating as arson.
“Enquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.
“Anyone who has any information that could help the police investigation should call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 32 of May 25.
“Alternatively, information can be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
A County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson confirmed they were called to reports of the fire at 2.10am on Tuesday, May 25.
Two crews from Peterlee attended, and found the lockup containing cars alight. It took the firefighters about one hour to get the blaze under control.