Update: Video and photo gallery - Investigation due to take place today into cause of large scrapyard fire at Hainford

Burned-out cars in the aftermath of the blaze at the Hainford scrapyard. Picture: Denise Bradley Burned-out cars in the aftermath of the blaze at the Hainford scrapyard. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thursday, December 5, 2013
11:00 AM

An investigation is due to be carried out today into what started a “considerable” blaze at a car scrapyard in Hainford, north of Norwich.

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Black smoke from the blaze at a scrapyard in Hainford can be seen across the city. Picture: Ollie HoffBlack smoke from the blaze at a scrapyard in Hainford can be seen across the city. Picture: Ollie Hoff

At its height the fire, which involved about 60 cars, had 45 firefighters in attendance with billowing black smoke visible from as far away as County Hall in Norwich.

Fire crews from Wroxham, two from Earlham, Hethersett, Mundesley, Sprowston, Aylsham and Carrow were sent to the fire at the Hainford Hall yard, which started just before 2pm.

Station Manager Peter Rowe, from Carrow station, said there had been a “considerable fire” in cars that were set to be recycled and had been stripped of oil, fluids and tyres.

The firefighters were on scene for more than two hours bringing the blaze under control using compressed air foam which helps “suppress” the fire.

Smoke from the fire at Hainford. Picture: Matthew NunnSmoke from the fire at Hainford. Picture: Matthew Nunn

Mr Rowe said no-one was injured as a result of the fire the cause of which is as yet unknown but will be the subject of an investigation likely to start tomorrow.

He said: “There was a considerable amount of smoke which could be seen from some distance which would be expected from that sort of fire. It’s very impressive but belied the size of the incident that was here.”

By about 4.30pm the incident was being scaled down although there would, said Mr Rowe, remain a fire service presence for “some time”.

Stephen Stolady, parts manager at the scrapyard, said it was a female office worker who called the fire brigade after she spotted some smoke.

He said: “By the time they arrived it was quite fierce. We had managed to get about 100 cars away from the fire. The fire was in a group of cars which were destined for crushing and had been there for about six weeks so we don’t really know how it started - it’s a bit of a mystery.”

Mr Stolady said the cars had been stripped of all fluids and did not have any tyres on so did not quite know how it started.

He said: “It’s just a mystery. I don’t think its anything suspicious.”

Staff at the scrapyard were praised after they managed to get the 20 or so customers off site safely as well as removing a number of other cars from the area to stop the fire spreading any further.

Mr Stolady said: “We quickly cleared the customers out of the yard and secured the gates so no-one could get in. They’re a pretty good crowd - quite quick at doing everything and everyone mucked in and got everything done.”

Eyewitness Ian Walters, from nearby Harford Close, was alerted to the blaze when he looked out his window. The 38-year-old, who is at home on paternity leave, said: “I looked out my window and could see a plume of black smoke coming from the yard. I could also hear popping sounds.

“I cannot really see how much damage has been caused to the cars or the building, because my view’s obstructed by trees.

“It looks like the crews have it under control, as the smoke is now lighter in colour, more greyish.”

Matthew Nunn, an engineer for Sky, who lives in Taverham, was driving by the blaze, and snapped some photographs of it.

I said: “It was a shock to see it. There was a lot of black smoke and fire engines. I used to live in Spixworth, which is close by. It must be gutting for the people who run it.”

Several roads surrounding the fire were closed by police, including St Faith’s Lane, Lady Lane, Newton Road, Church Lane and Chapel Road.

As reported, fire crews previously attended the scrapyard in January, when firefighters spent just over two hours tackling a blaze at the same site.

Three appliances had attended on that occasion with a water carrier and a further support vehicle from Hethersett.

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