Business owner defiant after arsonist’s attack destroys car body shop

Police have released CCTV following a fire at a Ramsey industrial estate

Police have released CCTV following a fire at a Ramsey industrial estate - Credit: Archant

“It’s business as usual.” That’s the defiant message from the owner of a car body shop in Ramsey which was destroyed in an arson attack.

Phil Whitaker, owner of Fix Auto, based in Stocking Fen Road, said he and his team launched their disaster recovery plan in the immediate aftermath of the blaze, which took place on September 10, and have since worked around the clock to ensure customers orders are met while the shop is repaired.

While the fire destroyed the 10,000 sq ft building used by Mr Whitaker’s paint and panel technicians, a secondary building close by which operates a strip and fit centre was undamaged.

To ensure productivity levels were maintained, Mr Whitaker has brought a new lorry to transport vehicles to and from Ramsey to his Peterborough outlet for painting and refinishing.

A major IT investment 12 months ago which involved creating a centralised computer system to serve his three sites in Spalding, Peterborough and Ramsey, ensured the safety of all vital data and no interruption to the site’s customer service facilities.

Mr Whitaker said: “I refuse to be a victim, that’s just not me. The building and all its contents were destroyed but I am fortunate to have a strong team around me and we have all set about making the most out of a terrible situation by ensuring that it is business as usual.

“All of my customers, insurers and staff have been incredibly supportive and I have received numerous e-mails and calls offering support from fellow Fix Auto franchisees. It’s a question of focussing now on ensuring productivity and rebuilding the body shop.”

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Cambridgeshire police have launched an investigation into the incident and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 101 or via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.