Woman escapes unhurt after fire at her Dereham town centre flat

Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14. Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
10:23 AM

A fire in a Dereham town centre flat, which has left a family of three homeless, is thought to have started on the balcony.

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Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14.Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14.

Paula Harris was woken at around 8.45am this morning by the sound of banging at her home in Beech Court, a Broadland Housing development behind the Wilko store.

“I though it was my son Ethan coming home,” she said. “I opened the bedroom door and the smoke alarms started going off so I went downstairs and opened the balcony door and saw a fire on the balcony.

“I rang the fire brigade who told me to get out but I had to leave the balcony door open and I think the fire was drawn through the flat.”

Two fire engines arrived and quickly extinguished the blaze which was belching black smoke across the town centre.

Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14.Flat fire at Beech Court, Dereham, 23/4/14.

No ambulance was called as there was no suggestion anyone was trapped and no-one was injured. Police were called but were not required.

Friends and neighbours quickly rallied round to support Ms Harris, who had left the flat without even putting on her shoes and was standing barefoot in the car park. Her partner Paul Robinson also arrived home and son Ethan was contacted at a friend’s house.

Nick King, who lives in the flat below, said he was alerted to the fire after hearing strange noises.

“I thought it might have been people moving in next door but I went outside and saw flames,” he said.

“I am very worried about my flat. I just had to leave everything, even the TV is still on. But I feel for Paula, she will be devastated.”

The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage were still being investigated by the fire brigade.

Ivan Johnson, executive director frontline at Broadland Housing said: “The property has been cordoned off while an assessment of the cause of the fire is carried out. We are working with the residents to rehouse them, and will aim to get them back into their home as quickly as possible.”

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