26.11.16 Ringwood shopping centre fire 'was arson' the fire gutted a Sue Ryder charity shop and damaged five other stores
Fifty fire fighters tackled the blaze at the shopping centre on Meeting House Lane in Ringwood, Hampshire.
Nick Lobo from Sue Ryder stated that this is always the busiest time of year. It's going to have a huge impact on our fundraising for local hospices and neurological units.
A branch of Sainsbury's was also closed as its main entrance was via Meeting House Lane.
Eyewitnesses said part of the Sue Ryder shop collapsed on parked cars but no-one was hurt.
Fire service group manager Howard Watts said it had been an "intense job" to tackle the blaze when it spread to the roof of the building.
"This was a big fire. All of these buildings are connected so the challenge was to ensure it didn't spread - it could have taken out the whole of the town centre," he added.
The fire was believed to have started in a wheelie bin behind the Sue Ryder charity shop and Celebrations card shop in Meeting House Lane. The fire then spread to the roof space of the Sue Ryder shop with six shops being affected in total.
A joint police and fire investigation is under way to establish the exact cause.
Eight fire engines and the aerial ladder unit attended the fire. Fire engines from Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire attended the scene.
No one was hurt.
Story collated by Liz Turnbull.
Registered Office: Southwold House, 66 Botley Road, Park Gate, Southampton, United Kingdom
Company number: 07810000