Arsonists strike at Yarmouth car dealership

ARSONISTS nearly caused �100,000s of damage to a Great Yarmouth car dealership when they broke into a neighbouring building and set it alight.

Security staff at Desira, in North Quay, found 'violent' flames when they were called to the garage in the early hours of today (Sunday, June 24) and alerted the fire service at 4.48am.

Police believe offenders broke through a metal grill at the front of a disused shop next to the garage to start the fire.

And garage staff believe the fire was minutes from destroying their business - which has more than 30 cars on site.

Daren Game, group sales manager for Desira, said: 'It was quite a lucky escape. The guy who came here from the security company said the flames were very violent and given half an hour more it would have swept through the whole building. 'The fire alarm would have sensed that there was smoke and the security company then called the fire service.'

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He said the disused building was severely damage, but under plans it will be knocked down to make way for a used car sales site.

The only damage to the main showrooms was smoke damage to the paint work, and 10 cars have been moved from the site to be cleaned after smoke damage.

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'The disused building is all secured, but the front of the building had no windows,' added Mr Game. 'Someone managed to break the metal grills apart and go inside to start a fire.

'The roof part and all the metal structure is mangled but luckily for us it's in the part that's being demolished.'

Four fire engines were called to the scene at 4.48am - along with the environmental protection unit - and battled the blaze for nearly two hours, recording the stop time as 6.42am.

Main and hose reel jets were used to extinguish the fire, with crews wearing breathing apparatus.

Police sealed off the road while the incident was being tackled, and Crime Scene Investigation officers were on scene.

The road was reopened at 7.20am, and police are currently reviewing CCTV footage from the garage.

The fire began in the former Stone Home Improvements site, and the premises where the fire took hold is now boarded up.

Fire fighter Alan Jaye was a crew member with the third pump that was called.

He said: 'The fire was in the rear storage units and had got a good hold.

'Four BA wearers with jets went in and knocked the fire down to stop it from spreading throughout the building.

'We worked hard and the right plan was put in place to get the fire under control quickly.

'Internally the building was heavily fire damaged in one part, but the rest was smoke logging.'

Incident manager Marty Harris led crews to prevent extensive damage to the Citroen, Nissan and Fiat dealership.

At the time of writing, police said nobody has been arrested or charged in connection with the incident.

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