WELLINGTON’S Waitrose supermarket has been reopened by the firefighters who helped to save it.

A fire at the store in July caused £1million damage, but fire crews and bosses opened its doors again after a closure of just over three weeks.

Manager Chris Reynard also handedoveracheque for £5,000 to the Firefighters Charity at last Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

He said: “Customers have welcomed us back and have been extremely supportive.

“We still have work to do to restore the shop, but I’m sure I speak for all employees when I say we’redelighted tobeback.”

The fire in the early hours of Sunday, July 21, wrecked the store’s entrance, and shoppers have temporary access via the café so repairs to the entrance and shop front can be completed by autumn.

Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze and eye witnesses caught the drama on cameras.

A video by the Star’s sister paper, the Somerset County Gazette, attracted 14,000 views.

Matt Goodman, of theDevon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Local crews and Waitrose staff worked closely together during the incident.

“Fire crews quickly gained control of the situation and the fast response of Waitrose staff to provide essential information on the hazards and risks the fire crews may face was invaluable in bringing the incident to a safe conclusion.

“We’re grateful to Waitrose for its donation to our charity, which helps injured fire service staff in need of rehabilitation back to work.”

n Robert Pitman, 24, of High Street, Wellington, appeared at Taunton Crown Court on Monday after having denied arson and was remanded in custody to re-appear on October 17.