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People left in tears after Hornsey Rise garden offering therapy to those in need ravaged by fire

PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 13:01 29 July 2013

Sunnyside's roof was destroyed by the fire

Sunnyside's roof was destroyed by the fire

Archant

People were left in tears after a much-loved garden that helps people with disabilities and mental health problems was ravaged by fire this morning.

Sunnside Community Garden, in Hazelville Road, Hornsey Rise, has been providing horticultural therapy for those in need since 1992 – but the service may have to stop after flames completely destroyed the roof earlier today.

The blaze started at around 4.30am – and four fire engines and 21 firefighters had it under control within two hours, but by this time the severe damage had been done.

Cllr Greg Foxsmith, who represents Hillrise ward which covers Sunnyside, said: “I am devastated. Many people were in tears this morning. It’s impossible to say how long we it will be out of action, but we will do everything we can to keep things going.

“I am calling on the council to take immediate action, as in right now. I want them get some tarpaulin up because there is no roof and we don’t want to make things worse by everything getting a soaking.

“In the longer term I want them to help set up an emergency fund so people can contribute to the cash flow needed to carry on. If possible we want to borrow a portacabin to store things on site.”

It is the second community service to go up in flames in recent months. In May, the Three Corners Adventure Playground, in Spa Fields Park, Finsbury, was all but destroyed by a blaze police say may have been arson.

Cllr Foxsmith said: “I hope this doesn’t mean someone is getting a taste for it. The fire brigade say it’s under investigation, but my view is it’s arson.

“It looks like someone built a fire right next to the building.

“It’s heartbreaking someone could do this and I am baffled as to why they would. Sunnyside has no enemies as far as I am aware. It might have been a prank that got out of hand.”

London Fire Brigade confirmed firefighters from Kentish Town and Holloway stations tackled the blaze and that the building’s tilled cedar wood roof had been destroyed.

The cause of fire is under investigation.

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