12:00PM, Friday 09 December 2016
Sadness has been expressed by the family behind Maliks restaurant in Cookham following a suspected arson attack there on Tuesday.
It took fire crews four hours to put out the blaze at the popular High Street curry house after they were called out at 1.20am, and one of the people inside had to leap from a first floor window before the engines arrived.
Thames Valley Police announced on Tuesday evening it believed the fire was a 'deliberate attack with intent to endanger life’ and launched an appeal for information as part of its investigation.
Rumel Ahmed, brother of the business’ namesake Malik Ahmed, said ‘as a family man’ he was upset ‘to know someone is trying to hurt the people you love, and the things you have built, for whatever reason’.
“The worst thing is moving on from that, thinking there are people out there that were out to harm in this way,” he said.
“We are in pain.”
The entrance to the building was visibly damaged by the fire, which neighbours said seemed to have only come out of the front, with smoke billowing out from the windows.
The building has dormitories for members of staff to sleep in if they wish.
Six men and one woman were inside when the fire started and one man in his 20s was taken to Wexham Park Hospital with a serious leg injury. The rest were treated at the scene.
Mr Ahmed, 38, said: “Everyone made it and that is the biggest thing.”
Maliks opened in the village in 1999 and has established itself as a popular venue.
Mr Ahmed, who lives in the village, also spoke of how the community had come together to help.
“Everyone today, they were just saying, ‘look, I can’t do much but I will clean’,” he said.
“It has really lifted our spirits, even though Malik is in pain.”
He vowed the family and business would bounce back from the fire.
Detective Constable Rachel Kluger, of Maidenhead Force CID, described the fire as a ‘serious incident’ and said: “We are keeping an open mind regarding a motive.
“I would like to appeal to anyone who was in the area at around 1.45am who noticed anything suspicious, or anyone who has any information about what happened, to contact police.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 with information.
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