A forecourt shop has been gutted by a major fire on a site owned by Top 50 Indie MRH.

The blaze broke out early in the morning on Saturday, April 8, at the Esso service station on the A11 near Mildenhall, and the trunk road had to be closed while firefighters brought it under control.

Crews from Mildenhall, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds were called to the scene at 6.53am, and the fire was completely extinguished by 10.45am.

MRH company secretary David Hathaway described the shop as a “smoking ruin”, but said the canopy and the rest of the forecourt had sustained remarkably little damage.

He said: “The fire brigade got there very quickly and although the shop was well ablaze, they managed to get it under control, and damage to the canopy appears to be superficial.”

He said until a full survey had been carried out it was not possible to say how much work needed to be carried out and how long the site would be out of action.

“If we just need to replace the shop it could be open again in about eight weeks, but if the damage is worse than it looks we could be looking at a KDRB with it out of action for most of the rest of this year,” he said.

The site was one of the tranche acquired during the Esso sell-off and MRH had converted the shop to its Hursts brand, with a shop refresh and addition of a new Subway about 18 months ago. Hathaway added: “It was a busy site and it will be again.”

The fire service praised a worker’s swift actions to isolate fuel tanks and raise the alarm to stop the flames from spreading out onto the forecourt.

Nigel Vincent, fire station manager at Bury St Edmunds who was the incident commander, said: “The shop worker acted quickly and isolated the forecourt using the isolation switch and evacuated the building.”

He added: “The fire became quite severe several minutes later and crews fought to bring it under control.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it is believed the fire started in a refrigeration unit and has been classed as an accidental electrical fault.