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Fire engulfs Santa’s grotto at Notcutts Garden Centre in Woodbridge

PUBLISHED: 20:05 03 December 2017 | UPDATED: 20:32 03 December 2017

The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING

The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING

Mark Ling

Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that took hold of a marquee used as Santa’s grotto at a Suffolk garden centre today.

Crews from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service used two jets to douse the flames during the incident at Notcutts in Ipswich Road, Woodbridge around 3.30pm.

Video footage taken by a member of the public at the scene shows smoke billowing into the sky and three people dressed as Father Christmas and elves in the area.

Two fire engines – one from Ipswich East and one from Woodbridge – were sent to the scene.

Paramedics were also in attendance.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Two appliances attended a report of a fire at a garden centre.

“Crews found a marquee used as Santa’s grotto to be well alight and they used two hosereel jets to extinguish.”

The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING

Firefighters had the blaze under control shortly before 4pm.

A Notcutts spokeswoman said: “On Sunday December 3, a fire in the Woodbridge Christmas grotto led to the closure of the store as a precautionary measure.

“Fire crews were on site quickly and no customers or colleagues were injured during the incident.

Fire crews at the scene of the marquee fire at notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: TERESA GOODCHILD Fire crews at the scene of the marquee fire at notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: TERESA GOODCHILD

“The centre manager and colleagues were quick to follow safety protocol at the time of the incident and we are undertaking a thorough investigation. “Unfortunately, the grotto will remain closed until further notice.

“Any customers with pre-booked grotto tickets should contact customer care for more information.

“The main garden centre and restaurant will reopen as usual on Monday December 4.

Santa on his arrival at Notcutts Garden Centre in Woodbridge last month - sadly he has been left temporarily homeless after fire burned down his grotto. Picture: SEANA HUGHES Santa on his arrival at Notcutts Garden Centre in Woodbridge last month - sadly he has been left temporarily homeless after fire burned down his grotto. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

“We would like to thank emergency services for their quick response and customers for their cooperation while we dealt with this incident.”

A fire service spokesman added: “Children need not worry – Father Christmas is fine and he is back in the North Pole tonight.”

A number of schools have already announced plans to close across Suffolk and north Essex this morning after snowy weather hit the region.

Snow lovers will be delighted to hear that Suffolk and Essex could be getting a second flurry of the white stuff later today.

The parents of a six-year-old boy, who died from Meningitis B, are campaigning for a vaccination programme to be rolled out to all children.

Motorists are being warned of disruption on the region’s roads this morning as snow turns into ice following a weekend wintry blast.

Kesgrave High School will be closed today after a major power failure.

Multi-platinum selling artist Craig David has been announced as the first act for next year’s Newmarket Nights.

Residents will be asked for their views on a potential merger between the district councils of Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

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