Paintballing pro feels ‘numb’ after blaze wrecks his Grantham business

Simon has been loading a skip full of the damaged stock.
Simon has been loading a skip full of the damaged stock.
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A Grantham businessman says he feels ‘numb’ after seeing around £25,000 worth of paintballing stock go up in flames overnight.

Simon Richards-Cole, a paintballing pro who enters international tournaments, received the dreadful call to his home at the Manthorpe Estate at around quarter past midnight, to say that his Alma Park business, Maxs UK, was on fire.

Mr Richards-Cole estimates that around �25,000 worth of stock has been lost.

Mr Richards-Cole estimates that around �25,000 worth of stock has been lost.

Arriving at the scene he found that two fire engines and firefighters had extinguished the blaze, but his warehouse was a mess of destroyed paintballs.

“My neighbours and the firefighters were really great. If my neighbour hadn’t spotted it and called 999, the whole building could have gone up,” said Mr Richards-Cole. He estimates that the destroyed equipment, including his paintballing clothing gear, costs in the region of £25,000.

“I just feel so numb,” he added. He is in talks with his insurer, but fears that if that doesn’t come through he will be out of business. “If it doesn’t that will be it,” he said.

This morning, the 58-year-old father has been busy shovelling the remains of stock into a skip, working through puddles of paint.

The electrical cause of the fire is apparent on the burnt out walls of the warehouse.

The electrical cause of the fire is apparent on the burnt out walls of the warehouse.

Mr Richards-Cole has won countless competitions and trophies. He recently represented Great Britain at The Millennium European Paintball Series Mediterranean Cup at Puget-sur-Argens in France.

Thankfully, his Great Britain jersey was not destroyed in the fire, and was instead found on the floor of the unit in a paint sodden heap.

One positive that he has been able to take away from the incident, is that his son Ethan’s kit appears to have escaped the blaze, although it will need a thorough clean.

His dad is proud that this summer Ethan will be following in his footsteps and competing in The Millennium European Paintball Series Mediterranean Cup in Chantilly, France.

Simon's GB jersey.

Simon's GB jersey.

The evidence of the electrical cause of the fire is clearly visible on the blackened walls.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue confirmed on Twitter: “A Grantham fire crew was called to a commercial unit in Woodland Drive at 11.30pm yesterday. The crew used four breathing apparatus and hosereels to extinguish the fire.

“The cause was an electrical fault. There were no injuries.”