A branch of Abraxas Cookshop in the Oxfordshire town of Banbury was saved last month thanks to the quick action of firefighters.
Local newspaper ‘Banbury Guardian’ reported that a fire sparked in a light fitting, filling the top floor of Abraxas Cookshop with smoke shortly after 11am.
Two fire engines attended and firefighters used breathing apparatus and hose reels to extinguish the blaze. Crews said the fire had the potential to spread very quickly to the rest of the building but praised the shop’s detection equipment for alerting them quickly to the situation.
Abraxas Cookshop co-founder Helen Sparrow told www.HousewaresLive.net: “We were very lucky indeed not to have suffered far more damage. The repairs are already well on the way. We are just so grateful that our lovely old Banbury building survived thanks to the quick reactions of our staff, the fire service and everyone concerned. Interestingly, the building suffered a severe fire during the last century when a pet monkey knocked over an oil lamp when it was the town tavern. Let’s hope it never happens again.”
The specialist chain was founded by sisters Helen Sparrow & Sarah George in 1996 at Heart of the Shires Shopping Village at Weedon in Northamptonshire. The company opened two more branches, at Rugby in 2004 and Banbury a year later, followed by Northampton town centre in 2006.
The Banbury branch, at 23 Cornhill, Market Place, was discovered in June 2004 in a very run-down condition. Built in 1867, the building, which is listed and in a conservation area, necessitated a complete restoration. It opened in June 2005. Housewares products stocked include cookware, knives, bakeware, storage, gadgets, utensils, textiles and work stations displayed on the first floor. Downstairs in the vaulted basement is a china & glass section, including Emma Bridgewater pottery, dinnerware, glassware and tabletop accessories, together with a working coffee machine area.