Popular Indian takeaway forced to close after being ravaged by fire

-Credit: (Image: Saffron Indian takeaway)
-Credit: (Image: Saffron Indian takeaway)


A popular Welsh takeaway venue has vowed to do everything it can to reopen and continue to serve its close-knit community after a devastating fire forced it to close down. It’s now more than a week since a blaze broke out at Saffron Indian takeaway in the heart of Pontypridd during the early hours of Friday, May 24.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is being investigated, but it means that a local business which had been running for more than 10 years is currently shut as it tries to rebuild and reopen as soon as possible. Saffron, located in Bridge Street, has been a huge hit with food lovers for several years with a Google rating of 4.5 out of five based on more than 100 reviews. Customers have described the takeaway as somewhere offering “great customer service” and “stunning food”.

But for now, Saffron is closed, with no definite date in mind as to when it can reopen. The damage caused by the fire is extensive - it has destroyed a store room and badly damaged the kitchen. Announcing that the business had to close on social media, Saffron said: “It’s something which breaks our heart. The disappointed faces of our regular customers who were patiently waiting outside at 5pm for their Friday curry made us realise what this fire has done. At Saffron we have always been about building a relationship with the Pontypridd community whereby you felt safe, valued for money and reassured that we are always here to help. For the first time in 10 years we feel lost.” To get the latest WalesOnline newsletters e-mailed to you directly for free, click here.

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More than 10 days on from the fire, those who run and work at Saffron still don’t know when their nightmare will be over. “We want to reopen as soon as possible,” said Ray Miah, who works at the family-owned business, which is run by his sister Amina Begum. “We have been serving the community for years and we've been quite popular because we have always put that community first. We don’t know how the fire started, and the fire service is investigating. All we know is that it started in a back room but we don’t know how.”

Images below show the damage caused to two rooms at the rear of the property

-Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway
-Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway
-Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway
-Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway

During the various Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, Saffron barely closed at all and continued - within the regulations at the time - to serve takeaway food to the people of Pontypridd. It also fed 300 local NHS staff members as a sign of the respect it has for those working in healthcare and the community at large. This year’s National Eisteddfod will take place in Pontypridd at the beginning of August, and Saffron, like all local businesses, was looking forward to an event which would draw crowds to the town from all over Wales. But whereas just two weeks ago, staff would have been looking forward to an extremely busy week, now they are left hoping that they can even open the doors.

“We were all really looking forward to the Eisteddfod - it’s going to be a great opportunity to show people from all over the country just what Pontypridd has to offer, but now we don’t know if we will be able to open in time,” said Ray. “We’re hoping to reopen by then but at the moment it’s pretty much out of our control. There’s a lot of damage to the property in terms of equipment and in terms of structural damage. We are going through the insurance but that takes time. When there’s a fire you are restricted and there is a process to run through.”

Hundreds of meals were prepared by Saffron and handed to NHS staff during the outbreak of Covid-19 -Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway
Hundreds of meals were prepared by Saffron and handed to NHS staff during the outbreak of Covid-19 -Credit:Saffron Indian takeaway

Such is the appetite for Saffron to reopen, one local woman has just set up a fundraising page in a bid to help get the business back on its feet as quickly as possible. The GoFund Me page states: “Let’s all try and support a local business and help them get back up and running again.”

Ray is so grateful for the outpouring of love Saffron has received from the people of Pontypridd that he believes there is no other option but to do everything possible to open for business again as soon as possible. “People keep asking us all the time when we are going to reopen and people keep pleading with us not to stay closed," he said. "Our message is, no matter what, we have no intention of closing permanently. This is a setback for us but we are planning to reopen and to serve people again. We feel it’s our duty to be there again for the community.”

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