Firefighters from Malvern and Fownhope battled a fire in Ledbury High Street for three hours yesterday.

The flames took hold of a hung artificial ceiling in Clarks shoe shop shortly before 2pm on Monday, December 17.

A spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Fire Service told the Reporter that the fire began with an electric heater fault, causing flames to spread in the ceiling and take hold.

The Reporter understands the heater had only been installed in the ceiling recently.

Smoke billowed into rooms above the shop, after floorboards were burnt through in places, and the shop itself was badly damaged by fire.

The Reporter understands that the rooms were not occupied and all the shop staff were able to leave the premises safely and unhurt.

Two appliances attended, from Malvern and Fownhope, and they remained at the scene until 5pm.

At the height of the blaze, two hose reel jets were in operation, and firefighters used four sets of breathing apparatus, in order to enter and search the building.

On Tuesday, staff and management were at the scene, to assess the damage.

More to follow.