AN investigation was launched yesterday after a commercial garage went up in flames in the early hours.
A guard dog had to be rescued as firefighters tackled the blaze for more than 90 minutes at C.Lake & Son garage, in Baltic Street.
The owner, Ian Lake, was knocked out of bed at around 1.30am on Friday and alerted of a “major fire” on his premises.
The blaze had started outside and a scrap car went up in flames and quickly spread to the front of the garage and into the office which was quite badly damaged.
Ian, 33, who lives in Seaton Carew, said rubbish gets dumped outside the garage every week which he believes caused the blaze.
Ian told the Mail: “When I got told it was a major fire I feared the very worst.
“Fortunately by the time I arrived the firefighters had it under control and it wasn’t as bad as I first feared.”
The extent of the damage caused by the fire is still yet to be confirmed as fire and police chiefs continued their investigations yesterday.
Two appliances from Stranton Fire Station attended the blaze.
Ian Brown, watch manager, said the fire was well alight when the team arrived, but fortunately they managed to quickly bring it under control.
The front of the premises was badly fire and smoke damaged and the office area sustained slight fire damage.
Ian, who followed his dad, Brian, and granddad, Cyril, in running the business which was set up in 1961, said: “People are constantly dumping stuff outside, mattresses and other rubbish.
“I have to get rid of it and clean up every week and it does get to a point where you get sick of it.
“Like any other small business it’s difficult to get by, this is the last thing I need.”
One of Ian’s initial fears when he was told about the fire was the safety of his guard dog, which was inside the premises.
But luckily a nearby security guard had managed to open one of the doors and free the dog.
Ian, a dad-of-two, now plans to get some gates put up to stop people from dumping rubbish close to his premises.
“I have had gates up before, but I found they were a bit of a nuisance with all of the HGVs we had coming in, but I’m going to get some in again as soon as possible,” he added.
Ian has to wait for the conclusion of the investigation before he knows how long he will have to close the business for.