A FRODSHAM supermarket was able to open last Wednesday afternoon - despite being engulfed by flames the night before.
Crews from seven Cheshire fire stations were battling the blaze at the Co-operative food store on High Street minutes after a loud bang was heard at 10pm the night before.
Flames swept through the building, gutting the loading bay and engulfing a lorry parked inside.
Bystanders looked on as five nearby houses were evacuated because of sparks jumping from the fire.
'It was frightening,' said Chris Green, landlord of the Cholmondeley Arms, whose two sons are in the fire service.
Dave Fox, from Sandfields, was watching football when he heard the bang.
He said: 'Flames suddenly shot out of the roof of the Co-op building. Within a few seconds, they had spread right across the roof.
'I think the bang must have been the roof cracking or collapsing from the fire inside. Firefighters were there within five minutes but by then there was no chance of saving that section of the building. It was already an inferno.'
Firefighters worked in four-hour shifts and removed tiles from the roof to stop the flames reaching the main store.
Firefighter Clare Page said: 'It was a tumultuous display with a lot of activity.'
Crews were still working the next day and removed loose debris from the roof while a structural engineer assessed the damage. The last engines left at 3.30pm.
* Anyone with information should call police on 0845 458 0000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.