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Update and photo gallery: Fire at Hirst Farm in Ormesby St Margaret, road remains closed

15:17 24 March 2014

Fire crews at the scene of a large barn fire off North Road in Ormesby St Maragaret.

Picture: James Bass

Fire crews at the scene of a large barn fire off North Road in Ormesby St Maragaret. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2014

Fire has ripped through buildings on a working agricultural farm in Ormesby St Margaret.

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Fire crews at the scene of a large barn fire off North Road in Ormesby St Maragaret.

Picture: James BassFire crews at the scene of a large barn fire off North Road in Ormesby St Maragaret. Picture: James Bass

A fire broke out at Hirst Farm, off North Road, shortly before 4am. At its height more than 70 firefighters from around the county were called to the scene.

A 100m exclusion zone was set up as a precaution after cylinders and asbestos were found inside the farm buildings and, as villagers woke up, they were advised to keep doors and windows closed because of the heavy smoke,

By 9am, the flames were out but a handful of crews remain on site to dampen down hot spots.

James Belcher, tactical coordinator for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service on the scene, said crews focused their efforts on reducing the impact on the community.

The fire at Hirst Farm in Ormesby could be seen from miles around.The fire at Hirst Farm in Ormesby could be seen from miles around.

He said eight appliances from across Norfolk, including Great Yarmouth, Martham, Gorleston, Acle and special appliances from Carrow, Hethersett, Wymondham, Sprowston and Thetford, had been called in.

Mr Belcher, who thanked residents for their patience, said the exclusion zone was likely to be in place for several hours while firefighters worked.

The farm is owned by Broadland farmer Richard Hirst, is a former NFU county chairman.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but the flames caused considerable damage to two large buildings which housed farm machinery and other items. It did not reach nearby farm lodging which Hirst Farms built in recent years to house the seasonal workers who are based on the farm between April to October.

The fire at Hirst Farm in Ormesby could be seen from miles around.The fire at Hirst Farm in Ormesby could be seen from miles around.

North Road is expected to be closed for the rest of the day, causing some delays for traffic.

It is the second major farm fire in the Flegg villages in four days - on Friday, an estimated 80 firefighters were called to a fire on a derelict mushroom farm in nearby Martham.

An investigation has revealed there are no suspicious circumstances behind the fire which took hold of agricultural buildings on a site off White Street at around 4.30pm on Friday.

At the height of the blaze around 100 firefighters were on scene, battling to contain the flames and at one point evacuating residents.

Crews fought the fire into the evening, keeping a watching brief overnight and were still damping down hot spots on Saturday morning.

Video: farm fire devastates buildings in Martham

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