Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 15°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Norfolk: Fire station and brand new engine destroyed by blaze in Downham Market

10:39 11 March 2014

The Downham Market fire station blaze. Picture by Kathy Mellish.

The Downham Market fire station blaze. Picture by Kathy Mellish.

Archant

A retained fire station in Downham Market was last night destroyed by fire - along with a brand new engine parked inside.

shares

Norfolk’s deputy chief fire officer Roy Harold said the fire station is next to the police station and police officers first noticed smoke at about 12.30am.

Dozens of firefighters from across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire were called to the scene and around 20 homes near to the fire station had to be evacuated.

Some breathing apparatus cylinders exploded in the fire, the fire service have revealed.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze has now been launched and teams are currently at the Ryston Close site.

They have searched the area to make sure there are no more cylinders that could explode.

Early estimations are that the station and fire engine will need to be replaced at a cost of around £1.5m. The fire engine that was destroyed cost an estimated £300,000.

Mr Harold said the Downham firefighters are retained and all live within five minutes of the station.

“When they got to the station they saw it was alight and the fire engine they needed to put out the fire was also on fire so they could not use it.”

Crews from King’s Lynn, Methwold, Swaffham, Littleport, Wisbech, Terrington, the water carrier from Fakenham and the control unit from Wymondham attended the fire in London Road.

No one was injured.

Kathy Mellish, a borough councillor for Downham Market, who lives opposite the fire station, was evacuated from her home. She said there were about six explosions from the blaze and she was able to return to her home by 2am.

“Something woke me up and the next explosion was almost immediately after and I thought the police station was under attack. I could not believe it when I opened the window and saw the fire station red raw alight. The bangs were phenomenal and frightening.”

Tony White, who lives in Wingfields, off London Road, said he was getting ready for bed at about 12.30am when he heard a number of explosions.

“Whilst I was in the house I heard at least four explosions and they echoed around like crazy and was sufficiently violent that the house shook. My initial reaction was that it was embarrassing for the fire service,” he said.

David Sharman, mayor of Downham, said: “Thankfully there are no injuries to anybody and they have a back up fire engine. They are saying the whole building will need to be demolished. The thing that is surprising is that it has done no damage to the police station next door.”

Deputy Mayor John Doyle said: “The people of the town fought for years and years to get a state of the art facility and it is all gone in about two hours. It’s devastating.”

Mr Harold said: “Overnight the police have been hosting us and they have agreed to host us for the short term as well.”

He said a replacement fire engine had been delivered from King’s Lynn by 5am.

“We have not lost fire cover. We have lost the fire station but we did not lose fire cover. The fire crews are quite upset about the fire. They live and breathe the fire service so it is gutting for them. They are really proud of their fire station.”

The fire station in Downham Market relocated from Priory Road in 2006.

shares

3 comments

  • Another tragic loss of resources due to fire, thankfully no one was injured this time. consider fitting a fire sprinkler system for 1% of these replacement costs, and it would have reduced this loss considerably if not prevented any significant loss at all.

    Report this comment

    Renroh

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • Did they not have a smoke alarm ?.

    Report this comment

    jack rabbit

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • Another tragic loss of resources due to fire, thankfully no one was injured this time. consider fitting a fire sprinkler system for 1% of these replacement costs, and it would have reduced this loss considerably if not prevented any significant loss at all.

    Report this comment

    Renroh

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Can you spot him? Andrew Hawes in the camouflage gear he plans to use to catch people not clearing up after their dogs.

Hollywood actor Hugh Grant is apparently backing campaigners in a Suffolk town who plan to post photos of dog walkers on the internet if they fail to clean up after their pets.

The scene of an accident on the A1088 at Honington.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has insisted a new roads policing unit “will happen”, as a fatal road accident in Honington yesterday claimed the life of another driver.

Police are investigating

A woman in her 90s has had her handbag stolen from her car while it was parked at the Village Rise shops in Lowestoft on Saturday.

Officers detain a reveller in Ipswich town centre.

A clamp down on off-licences selling super-strength alcohol has been cited as a key reason behind a sharp drop in the number of people boozing and brawling in the streets of Ipswich.

Assistant librarian Stephen Dart is pictured in the Ancient Library at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury.

It holds a wealth of religious books dating back hundreds of years, but the little-known Ancient Library at St Edmundsbury Cathedral also tells us about the local people of the time.

Caroline Shearer.

An anti-knife campaigner has branded the Government’s response to her petition calling for more education in schools about the dangers of weapons as a “total insult”.

Bury St Edmunds photographer Tom Murray with Cilla Black at a private viewing of his London exhibition of his Beatles images.

He has spent time with many celebrities during his career, but for Beatles photographer Tom Murray, Cilla Black had “true star quality”.

The A1088 closed at Honington following an accident.

Community leaders have expressed their sympathies following the latest fatal crash on Suffolk’s roads.

Broadband boost

Suffolk is to get an extra £3.9million to boost the county’s attempt to bring broadband to more properties as the current scheme has been more successful than anticipated.

The St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir have just returned from a musical tour of Europe. Pictured on July 23 at the Suffolk Regiment Memorial at Le Cateau, France, on the homeward journey.

Musical ambassadors from St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir have enjoyed a tour covering France, Belgium and Germany.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages