Gas shot out of a mains connection “like a flamethrower” after an arsonist set fire to a Waterside Chinese takeaway, the owner of the business has revealed.
Paul Ho, who along with business partner Mark Pang, runs the Good Year Chinese Restaurant at Rossdowney Road has been unable to reopen due to thousands of pounds in damage caused by the arson attack more than two weeks ago. The pair are now facing a third week with no income and fear their business may be irreparably harmed by the forced closure.
“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience and assure them we’ll be open for business again as soon as we get everything replaced,” Mr Ho said.
He told the ‘Journal’ that the person who started the blaze was caught on CCTV pouring a drum of oil over a gas meter and setting it alight. The arsonist had minutes earlier been caught on camera removing two drums of home heating oil from a tank near the rear of the premises and making off in the direction of Lincoln Courts. However, he then returned and set fire to the meter. “It damaged a certain component in the gas meter and that caused the gas leak to shoot up a thirty foot high flame that was so powerful it caused the damage to the back of the shop.” He said that fire service personnel were forced to spray thousands of tons of water to “cool” the building to allow gas engineers to repair the leak. “There was no way for the water to be channelled away quick enough and it found ways into the shop and flooded the whole place. The top ceiling was the first to cave in and then a suspended ceiling collapsed as well.” He added: “I’ve suffered damages to the whole shop front and equipment, and thousands of pounds of stock has been destroyed.” Mr Ho paid tribute to the PSNI and Fire Service for their work to save his premises.