The manager of a branch that lost 75% of its stock to a fire has warned merchants to check their insurance covers fire damage.

In April 2017, an electrical fault sparked a fire at Busy Bee builders’ merchant in Brent Cross, London. Thanks to ten fire engines, the blaze was under control within a day but was not completely extinguished until three days later.

Branch Manager Dhiresh Halai estimates that the company lost 75% of its stock in damages totalling approximately £1 million.

Busy Bee had recently opened a new branch in Alperton, so it was able to transfer all of its staff members there so no one lost their job.

No one was hurt in the incident, which Halai credits to the branch’s immediate and efficient fire evacuation. His message to other merchants would be to ensure they have carried out a risk assessment and have a clear fire procedure in order – and also to check their insurance covers the cost of fires.

Halai described the ongoing insurance process as a “battle”, and said that so far the company has still not received a pay-out. Despite this, the restored branch is on track to open in January, and Halai hopes to regain any customers that have been lost.

Halai said that the fire had brought the team closer together, and that they had learned important lessons about insurance and risk assessments.