Banger racer talks about Lenwade gas cylinder explosion

A stock car racer spoke today of how a fire in his workshop led to a gas cylinder explosion that resulted in families in the area being evacuated from their homes.

Father-of-one Carl Gould, 30, was in his workshop in Heath Close, Lenwade, near Norwich, on Sunday afternoon when sparks from a car he was working on set alight to another car parked outside and then caused the explosion.

A 200-metre exclusion zone was put in place after the explosion and homes and businesses in the village were without electricity until this evening .

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said that one crew cooling cylinders was still on scene today , and that an investigation into the blaze would follow.

Mr Gould, who works at a scrapyard, said: 'I was working in my workshop, grinding up a car ready to weld it up.

'The door was open and some sparks ignited and started a fire in a Ford Capri just outside the workshop. My lorry was parked beside the Capri and when I got in the lorry to reverse it, I was burned.'

Mr Gould's partner Sam Read, 25, who was inside the house at the time making outfits for an forthcoming motoring event, said it was just a freak accident.

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She said: 'We have got fire extinguishers in place for any accidents, and Carl tried to fight it, but in the end he had to ring the fire brigade.

'He suffered burned hands and the hair on his arms was singed, but he did not go to hospital. He was one of those blokes who plays down any injuries.'

She said the Ford Capri was completely destroyed and the blaze also damaged neighbouring fences and an electricity pole.

Miss Read added: 'When I heard the explosion I ran out and tried to get everybody in Heath Close out of their homes. I also ran around the front onto the Fakenham road to see if there were any elderly people who needed help.'

At its height 22 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze with crews from Reepham, Dereham, Earlham and Aylsham together with the water carrier from Hethersett called to attend.

Norfolk police carried out an evacuation of all the properties in Heath Close on Sunday, and a number between Heath Close and the A1067 Norwich to Fakenham Road, which was closed until about 5.30pm.

Residents who had been evacuated shortly after the blaze at 2.20pm had to wait until after 5pm on Sunday before the two remaining oxy-acetylene cylinders on the scene had been cooled sufficiently to allow most to return home.

People living in the three properties nearest the fire were not allowed home on Sunday evening for safety reasons.

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