Croydon Voluntary Action office undamaged after all

TV images had convinced the organisation the building had been burned out during the riots in south London borough, but not even one window has been broken

Croydon Voluntary Action
Croydon Voluntary Action

Staff at Croydon Voluntary Action, who believed their office had caught fire during riots in the area on Monday night, were told yesterday that it was completely undamaged.

Leigh Armstrong, head of asset management at CVA, said the charity’s office was the only building unharmed on a street in Croydon, south London, that had been at the centre of violent disturbances and widespread destruction.

Staff at the charity were able to return to the office for the first time yesterday.

"If you looked around, you would not believe it," said Armstrong. "The area looks like those wartime images of the Blitz, but our building right in the middle of it is untouched. There is not even a broken window or a scratch. It’s like St Paul’s Cathedral."

He said three buildings within 50 yards of the charity’s office had been completely destroyed by fire.

"There have been images in the press of a woman jumping from a burning building, and that was 75 yards from where we are," he said.  

Armstrong said staff had seen TV footage of the riots that made it appear as if the roof of the building had caught fire.

"The building was in a police exclusion zone, but from what we could make out it looked like there was serious damage," he said. "The adjacent buildings were destroyed."

He said the building might have been saved because it was set back from the main road and was relatively modern and well-insulated.

He said staff at the charity, and at some of the 12 other charities that had offices in the building, had moved back in. "Everyone is in a bit of a daze really," he said.

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