Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 5,000 to Help Find Quarry Fire-Raisers; Family Firm Was Nearly Destroyed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 5,000 to Help Find Quarry Fire-Raisers; Family Firm Was Nearly Destroyed

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty

AQUARRY boss is today offering a reward for help to catch the arsonists who torched his business and put his family's life at risk.

Stephen Tuck will pay out pounds 5,000 to anyone who can give information leading to the conviction of the reckless firestarters who burned his stone manufacturing company to the ground.

The father-of-four is working to return Newbiggin Artificial Stone Company (NASCO), to normal after fire ripped through the plant in May.

The 46-year-old watched flames destroy the business, that has been in his family for 30 years, from the window of his bungalow, just yards away. And while he is thankful the fire did not spread to his home, where his wife, daughter and grandson slept, he is determined to see those who put his life and livelihood in jeopardy brought to justice.

More than 35 firefighters and six appliances battled the blaze after Mr Tuck's son, Stephen junior, spotted the fire and dialled 999.

But by the time the flames were extinguished virtually all of NASCO's offices, workshops, and manufacturing process had been destroyed.

Police are now treating the fire, which broke out shortly before 4.30am, on Tuesday May 25, as arson.

Mr Tuck believes whoever started it could have killed him and his family. "All the buildings are just wooden with felt roofs so you can imagine how quickly they went up," he said. "It was like an inferno, and it was very close to the house.

"When the firefighters arrived they were concentrating on dampening the house down to stop it from spreading. But the fire officers said it was just 15 minutes away from our bungalow. "My kids could have been killed. There must be someone out there that knows who did this."

Fire crews were able to bring the flames under control before they reached the two bungalows where Mr Tuck's wife Nicola, parents John and Valerie, grandson Callum, two, and children Stephen, 17, and Esther, 15, were. …

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