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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 LINGThe 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 GOODCHILDFire 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 HUGHESSanta 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.”

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Fire response times in Suffolk are nearly three minutes more than national averages – and nearly two minutes behind other rural areas, according to new figures.

The number of anti-depressants prescribed in parts of Essex has risen by nearly a fifth in just three years, according to NHS data.

Forecasters are predicting a warmer day for East Anglia with temperatures reaching the low 20s.

A burglar has been jailed for two and a half years after he was identified by DNA found on a water bottle left at the scene of the crime.

Fire crews were called to a house fire in Hatfield Peverel this afternoon which was caused by sunlight shining though a desk-mounted magnifying glass.

Greater Anglia are reporting this morning that some train services from Lowestoft to Ipswich have been delayed.

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