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Blaze horror Shock as ‘heart of community’ Centra shop in Meath destroyed by fire

It is a large employer in the town, with roughly 30 full and part-time staff working there, as well as housing the local post office.

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Pat's Centra has been left gutted by the fire overnight.

Pat's Centra has been left gutted by the fire overnight.

The blaze took hold of the entire building within hours.

The blaze took hold of the entire building within hours.

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Pat's Centra has been left gutted by the fire overnight.

There were scenes of shock in Bettystown, Meath, this morning as locals woke up to the news that Pat’s Centra in the square had suffered a devastating fire overnight, gutting the entire building.

Described by onlookers as ‘the heart of the community’, the blaze was discovered around 10.15pm on Sunday night, shortly after staff had locked up for the day.

Several units of Drogheda fire service battled to contain the fire, which quickly spread throughout the supermarket.

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The fire service at the scene on Monday morning.

The fire service at the scene on Monday morning.

The fire service at the scene on Monday morning.

Onlookers watched in horror as flames took down the roof of the store within hours, spreading to the roof of the neighbouring business Macari’s.

Owned by the local Boshell family, the busy shop was founded by former local councillor Pat Boshell, and is run by his son Patrick.

It is a large employer in the town, with roughly 30 full and part-time staff working there, as well as housing the local post office.

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Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

The family is naturally devastated but they are already hoping they can rebuild the shop soon.

"The whole village is in shock this morning,” said one woman, surveying the still-smouldering building on Monday morning. “As well as being one of the busiest shops, so many local people and students have worked here over the years, and every one was treated like part of the family.”

Gardaí and fire investigators are at the scene, and are looking into the cause of the blaze, which according to early video footage appears to have started at the front of the building, as flames were seen shooting from the shutters at around 10.15pm.

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The blaze took hold of the entire building within hours.

The blaze took hold of the entire building within hours.

The blaze took hold of the entire building within hours.

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Exclusive drone footage from local director Declan Cassidy showed the extent of the inferno, which gutted the large supermarket within hours.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Boshells, John Flanagan our Postmaster, the Macari’s and everyone involved with these businesses,” said local councillor Sharon Tolan.

“They and their staff are the very heart of our community, and we will do all we can to help and support them during this devastating time”.

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Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

Local filmmaker Declan Cassidy's exclusive drone footage shows the devastation caused by the blaze. Photo courtesy of Declan Cassidy www.declancassidy.com.

Meath based TD Thomas Byrne also paid tribute to the family business.

"Solidarity with the Boshell family and staff in Bettystown after the fire at Pat’s Centra and Post Office and thanks to all first responders. Solidarity also to the Macari family whose premises next door also appears damaged from photographs,” said Deputy Byrne.

“This premises is such an institution in Bettystown”.

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