One of London's largest kosher supermarkets is facing financial uncertainty after its warehouse was ravaged by a fire, causing tens of thousands of pounds' worth of damage.
More than 50 firefighters in 10 fire engines tackled the blaze at the Kosher Kingdom warehouse on Golders Green Road last Thursday. The fire, which started at around 4pm, took almost five hours to put out. All shop-owners and residents in the vicinity were told to leave the area. There were no casualties.
The fire damaged the section of the warehouse which was used for storage and contained mainly food, including the supermarket's Yomtov selection.
Kosher Kingdom's David Rokach said: "It is the worst nightmare for us and our customers. It takes months to get ready for Yomtov. Everything was all ready to go. Please God we will be up and running again as soon as possible." He hopes to re-open in around four to six weeks, but will miss out on the Yomtov trade.
During the blaze, still under investigation by fire officers, part of the adjacent office was also damaged. "I couldn't state the financial cost but it's tens of thousands. It's a very big loss business-wise." Mr Rokach paid tribute to his customers, who had contacted him to show their support.
Neighbouring businesses also lost out due to the fire. Tamir Haziza of Menachem Butchers estimated they lost around £2,000 after they were forced to close by fire officers. "We had about 50 phone calls for orders that we had to turn down." He said the incident was the worst thing to affect the business in the 17 years Menachem has been open. "It is the first time that we had actually to shut the shop."