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Flaming piano saved from blaze at market

Vandalised instrument had been sent away for repair

20 July, 2017 — By William McLennan

Desmond Gentle with the piano

A PIANO that had become a fixture of Camden Market escaped unscathed from the blaze that hit around 40 businesses, having been moved for cleaning just days earlier, after being vandalised by a customer.

The instrument – decorated in a vibrant flame pattern – had been installed in Camden Lock Place, next to the seat of the fire that broke out late on Sunday last week, but owner Desmond Gentle, of Camden Piano Rescue, removed it less than a week before.

He said: “Whoever jammed the plate of food in there saved the piano from a fiery end. We moved it out for cleaning about four days before the whole place caught fire.”

Mr Gentle said his business, which is just metres from the fire, was “miraculously unscathed”, but added: “It is only about 15 metres away, so if the wind had changed direction we would have lost everything. We are very grateful to the firefighters and security guards, who managed to get there within 90 seconds and were using every fire extinguisher they could possibly find. It’s a miracle we didn’t lose everything in the whole market.”

Mr Gentle has now decided to auction off the piano on eBay, with proceeds going to a fund for traders whose businesses were destroyed by the fire. He is now looking for an artist to paint a new piano to replace it after the auction.

“We’re going to replace it with a more modern piano and we want it brought up to the 21st century and are looking for a young artist or graffiti artists to decorate it,” he said.

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