Fire destroys £10,000 of stock days before celebrity flooring shop due to reopen after lockdown

One of Britain’s unluckiest bosses has described how a fire wiped out his entire stock at his celebrity flooring business just days before he was due to re-open after three months of Covid lockdown. 

The blaze at Period Flooring in Nutfield, Surrey, which caused £10,000 of damage, comes just over a year after a tractor ploughed into the front of his showroom.

Martin Murray, whose clients include stars such as Simon Cowell and Richard E Grant, had only been able to reopen the showroom in December before coronavirus completely closed his business in March.

He told MailOnline the latest hammer blow for his business made him think about giving up.

One of Britain's unluckiest bosses has described how a fire wiped out his entire stock at his celebrity flooring business just days before he was due to re-open after three months of Covid lockdown

One of Britain’s unluckiest bosses has described how a fire wiped out his entire stock at his celebrity flooring business just days before he was due to re-open after three months of Covid lockdown

The blaze at Period Flooring in Nutfield, Surrey, which caused £10,000 of damage, comes just over a year after a tractor ploughed into the front of his showroom

The blaze at Period Flooring in Nutfield, Surrey, which caused £10,000 of damage, comes just over a year after a tractor ploughed into the front of his showroom

Martin Murray, whose clients include stars such as Simon Cowell and Richard E Grant, had only been able to reopen the showroom in December before coronavirus completely closed his business in March

Martin Murray, whose clients include stars such as Simon Cowell and Richard E Grant, had only been able to reopen the showroom in December before coronavirus completely closed his business in March

He told MailOnline the latest hammer blow for his business made him think about giving up. Pictured with son Louie

He told MailOnline the latest hammer blow for his business made him think about giving up. Pictured with son Louie

‘It’s been a terrible time for us,’ he said. ‘We worked for well over a year without a showroom as after the accident it turned out neither driver was insured so it took a long time to sort out.

‘We were all looking forward to starting again and then this. It beggars belief that when everyone is struggling as they are at the moment, people would do this. It is just wanton vandalism.

‘Small businesses like this are fighting for their lives at the moment against the big stores and I just wonder how much more of this I can take.

‘I have thought about giving up and if I hadn’t been established for as long as I have, something like this could easily have wiped me out.’

Mr Murray says he believes arsonists struck his storage yard on June 9, scaling a fence before they are believed to have used wood and carpet from skips to start the fire next to one of the firm’s three vans.

The ensuing blaze was so fierce that a section of the A25 had to be closed as explosions from the van shot across the road.

It also consumed a shed containing all his stocks of wood.

Mr Murray, 52, said his financial situation was made worse by the steps he took to save outgoings as the Covid crisis hit.

Mr Murray says he believes arsonists struck his storage yard on June 9, scaling a fence before they are believed to have used wood and carpet from skips to start the fire next to one of the firm’s three vans

Mr Murray says he believes arsonists struck his storage yard on June 9, scaling a fence before they are believed to have used wood and carpet from skips to start the fire next to one of the firm’s three vans

Mr Murray says he believes arsonists struck his storage yard on June 9, scaling a fence before they are believed to have used wood and carpet from skips to start the fire next to one of the firm’s three vans

The ensuing blaze was so fierce that a section of the A25 had to be closed as explosions from the van shot across the road. It also consumed a shed containing all his stocks of wood.

The ensuing blaze was so fierce that a section of the A25 had to be closed as explosions from the van shot across the road. It also consumed a shed containing all his stocks of wood.

As well as destroying the van, the fire also accounted for its contents which included specialist hand-made tools which can’t easily be replaced. Mr Murray, 52, said his situation was made worse by the steps he took to save outgoings as the Covid crisis hit

As well as destroying the van, the fire also accounted for its contents which included specialist hand-made tools which can’t easily be replaced. Mr Murray, 52, said his situation was made worse by the steps he took to save outgoings as the Covid crisis hit

‘To say it’s unfortunate is an understatement,’ he said. ‘Because we had no money coming in, we’d been advised to suspend the tax and insurance on the vans, so they weren’t covered'

‘To say it’s unfortunate is an understatement,’ he said. ‘Because we had no money coming in, we’d been advised to suspend the tax and insurance on the vans, so they weren’t covered’

‘To say it’s unfortunate is an understatement,’ he said. ‘Because we had no money coming in, we’d been advised to suspend the tax and insurance on the vans, so they weren’t covered.

‘I got the call at 10.30pm at night and when I got down there it was still burning. They had climbed into the yard over the barbed wire fencing, then piled up old carpet and wood flooring from our skips against the side of the van and set it alight.

‘It took the fire brigade an hour and a half to bring it under control. They even had to close the A25 as there were explosions from the van going across the road.’

As well as destroying the van, the fire also accounted for its contents which included specialist hand-made tools which can’t easily be replaced.

Mr Murray, a floorer all his working life, started his business in 1989, specialising in English oak and natural flooring.

His client base includes Simon Cowell, Richard E Grant and hotel owners like Olga Polizzi, mother of Hotel Inspector Alex, who started the boutique hotel boom in the late 1990s.

He added: ‘We’d just reopened after the crash when Covid hit and we desperately need to get out and find new business, but now we need to find the money to replace the van and the tools.

‘The furlough scheme helped us as a business but it didn’t help me because I am classed as self-employed and I was not entitled to a penny under the government scheme as my earnings are over £50,000.

‘It’s been a terrible time for us,’ he said. ‘We worked for well over a year without a showroom as after the accident (above) it turned out neither driver was insured so it took a long time to sort out'

‘It’s been a terrible time for us,’ he said. ‘We worked for well over a year without a showroom as after the accident (above) it turned out neither driver was insured so it took a long time to sort out’

‘We’d just reopened after the crash when Covid hit and we desperately need to get out and find new business, but now we need to find the money to replace the van and the tools'

‘We’d just reopened after the crash when Covid hit and we desperately need to get out and find new business, but now we need to find the money to replace the van and the tools’

His client base includes Simon Cowell, Richard E Grant and hotel owners like Olga Polizzi, mother of Hotel Inspector Alex, who started the boutique hotel boom in the late 1990s

His client base includes Simon Cowell, Richard E Grant and hotel owners like Olga Polizzi, mother of Hotel Inspector Alex, who started the boutique hotel boom in the late 1990s

‘People say you must be doing great if you earn that much but there are more overheads and tax to pay and I have a family to support.

‘Now we are trying to get back up after Covid and it means I have to pay extra to make sure my staff have the best PPE and that it is replaced daily.

‘We are going into peoples’ homes so we have to be extremely careful.

‘To be honest, these body blows make me think of giving up and I’ll bet there are hundreds of other small businesses thinking the same thing.

‘But if all we have left is big chain superstores with flooring piled high and staff paid a pittance then we will be the poorer as a society for that.

‘People like the knowledge and the advice that is passed on by independent traders and we are in danger of losing it all.’

A spokeswoman for Surrey Fire and Rescue said two fire engines were sent to extinguish the blaze. 

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said: ‘We were called to reports of a fire in a yard containing a skip and a van on Nutfield Road near Redhill at around 10.50pm on Tuesday 9 June by our colleagues at the fire service.

‘The cause of the fire was investigated, but there are currently no further lines of enquiry to progress this investigation. ‘

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