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Staff heartbroken after fire shuts hairdressers' salon
STAFF at the Toni & Guy hairdressers in Oxford were left “heart-broken” after a fire damaged the shop.
The salon at 21 George Street could be closed for several weeks after the front of the shop was damaged by the blaze.
Staff at the shop were left devastated by the news which could cost £100,000 in lost takings.
Manager Karen Peterman said: “It’s pretty distressing and heartbreaking to walk into a place you work and see it in the state it was after the fire. It’s mainly the reception area which has the most amount of damage. The back of the shop is fine, there’s only a bit of debris and soot. It looks worse on the outside than inside.
“We can’t trade at the moment. It’s disappointing for the clients as we had to cancel a lot of appointments and it’s also a worry for our 23 members of staff who don’t want to lose their clients.
“We are trying to move some staff and appointments to the Toni and Guy salon in Banbury.”
Mrs Peterman, who has been manager for the last 16 years, was alerted to the news when she received a call from stylist Nicola Montegue at 4.30am on Monday.
Her partner had been out in Oxford and saw the fire.
Mrs Peterman said: “I was fast asleep when I got a call from Nicola and she sent me through photos of the shop on fire. I was gobsmacked. I didn’t go down straight away as the road had been sealed off but went early next morning at 9am.”
Staff said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damage, but they are covered by insurance.
Managing director Darren Stone said: “A structural engineer will inspect the shop hopefully today and say whether it’s safe or not.
“We will then decide when the shop will reopen but we expect to be closed for at least one or two weeks.”
Mr Stone, who has been managing director for 20 years, said: “We spent all day on Monday telephoning nearly 200 clients to tell them what had happened.”
Rob MacDougall, from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire was caused by an electrical wiring fault behind the sign at the front of the salon.
Four fire crews were called to the scene at 4.05am to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the ceiling.
This is not the first problem to affect the shop. Eight years ago there was a fire at the hairdressers which led to a two-hour evacuation from the shop and three years ago a flooding problem caused it to shut down for three days.
The nearby Chelsea Building Society, in George Street, is closed until Monday because of smoke from the fire.
Catherine Walker, of the building society, said: “We are taking a full assessment of the premises at the moment.
“We have contacted people who had appointments to reschedule meetings and are directing people to the general call centre number.”
The Victoria House hotel, at 29 George Street, was evacuated for about half-an-hour because of the fire.