A BUSINESSMAN whose premises were left in ruins by a blaze that ripped through the snooker centre has thanked people for rallying round in his time of need.
Nigel Lupton, who owns Woodworx – which is situated underneath the now charred Hartlepool Snooker Centre – says despite his base being left in tatters he must still make a living.
The married 54-year-old, who lives in Hartlepool, said all of his tools and equipment that he uses for his joinery and woodwork business, were left in the building when the fire started in the snooker hall on Saturday night.
He said everything is now buried beneath the crumbling building, or has been damaged by the gallons of water which had to be sprayed onto the roaring flames by firefighters tackling the huge blaze.
But Nigel was back at work yesterday after being offered tools and equipment by his fellow town tradesmen, saying that a customer he was working for still needed her kitchen fitting and he still needed to make a living.
He said: “I’m absolutely gutted. It’s my livelihood gone unless I can keep plodding on.
“I’m about a third of the way through a kitchen in Peterlee so I’m trying to get my hands on tools and things to finish the job. The customer still needs a kitchen, and I still need to make money.
“I can’t let people down, I’ve got weeks of work scheduled ahead of me.
“Thankfully people have volunteered. It’s unbelievable that people you don’t even know have phoned up and offered me tools and services. I’m really grateful.
“I’ve always believed what goes around comes around, and I’ve always tried to help people where I can.”
He added: “My tools were all left in there because I can’t keep them in my van for insurance purposes. The police won’t let me in because it’s unsafe and there’s probably not much left because of the amount of water poured into it. I’m in shock really.”
A spokesman for the Fix n’ Go garage, which is also underneath the snooker hall, said firm bosses were in meetings yesterday afternoon discussing their plans for a way forward.