December 11 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 14, 2013
A Swaffham fish and chip shop was severely damaged by a major fire this morning.
About 50 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze at Mr Chips, in the Market Place.
Roads around the Market Place have remained closed throughout the day due to the amount of smoke that came from the building and the risk of the fire starting up again.
Nobody was harmed but one woman was fed oxygen by paramedics at the scene.
Damage was caused to all three floors of the building, which are all part of the Mr Chips restaurant.
No other buildings were affected by the fire.
Investigations are continuing into the cause of the blaze, but Bob Ayers, group manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said it is believed to be due to an overheated fat fryer.
Anne Brigitte was working next door at Pedlars Hall Cafe when the fire started, at around 8.30am.
She said: “We had about half a dozen people in for breakfast when a gentleman came in asked if we had noticed all the smoke and asked if it was coming out of our chimney.
“We got everyone out straight away and called the fire service, who arrived very quickly.
“The situation seemed to be dealt with within 10 minutes so we went back in and started serving until a few minutes later when it started again and we again had to get everyone out.”
She added: “Mr Chips is a very popular fish and chip shop and we are all devastated about what has happened.”
Eleven fire appliances were sent to the fire.
Firefighters from Swaffham, Massingham, Watton, Dereham, Hingham, Downham Market and Fakenham with the control unit from Wymondham, the aerial ladder platform from King’s Lynn and the welfare unit from Attleborough tackled the blaze.
Mr Ayers said: “This was a very serious fire which spread quickly and caused serious damage to the building.
“In these type of incidents the fire has the potential to reignite through hot spots and, because of this and the amount of smoke, we have had to close the roads.
“The crews did a great job to get the fire under control quickly and to ensure no other buildings were affected.”
The road closures meant it was a slow day for market traders in Swaffham.
Harmesh Badwell, 55, from Littleport runs a clothing stall, opposite Mr Chips.
The fire started when he was setting up his stall.
He said: “I didn’t see any flames but there was an awful lot of smoke coming out.
“It has been a disappointing day for the market traders. I’ve barely covered the fuel costs of getting here today.”