Norfolk: Fire-fighters still at scene of blaze in Aylsham

A serious fire has ripped through a bathroom and kitchen centre in a Norfolk town.

More than 70 fire-fighters have been tackling a blaze at Aylsham Bathroom and Kitchen Centre from about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Fire fighters are having to take into account the danger posed by asbestos.

Earlier in the evening, the smoke could be seen 13 miles away in Norwich city centre and fire-fighters are now expected to remain on site until after midnight.

Fire station manager John Baker said the 60 x 40m building was left an “almost total loss” after the fire ripped through the roof and inside of the building.

The blaze started just 30 minutes after staff locked up the centre at about 5pm and went home. A passer-by spotted smoke coming from the building and alerted the emergency services at about 5.30pm.

At the height of the blaze eight appliances were in attendance, plus the environmental protection unit, two water carriers, the aerial ladder platform and support appliances, and the control unit from Wymondham.

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Parts of the busy A140 around Aylsham were closed for several hours and police and ambulance crews also attended.

Mr Baker said: “There were no casualties. We have no idea what started it. We expect one appliance to be on scene until midnight. The building is an almost total loss.”

Crews also had to make sure that other businesses in the area did not go up in flames as well.

He added: “We have spoken to the owner of the business who had locked up about 30 minutes earlier. He was extremely shocked.”

Farmer David Browne, who lives nearby, said: “I heard the roof snapping from my farm and then I saw the black smoke. I came to see if I could help. It appeared to me that the crews’ biggest problem was getting enough water to the scene.”

The owner of the business was too upset to talk.

Aylsham Bathroom and Kitchen Centre has been established since 1981 and, according to its website, has the largest selection of bathroom and kitchen products in the area.

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