Budgens in Holt engulfed by huge fire
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of shocked residents have gathered in the streets to watch in disbelief as Holt’s Budgens supermarket has gone up in flames.
The Kerridge Way store, owned by Bakers and Larners, is fully alight, with fire ripping through the building and thick black smoke billowing high into the air.
Jono Read, an eye-witness from Holt, said: “Black smoke can be seen over the whole of Holt and ash is falling down everywhere.
“The whole town was out, looking to see what has happened. Everybody is in disbelief.
“It really is unbelieveable. This is a central part of our community, one of its main employers, and has been here for 35 years.”
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Judith Follows, 72, from St Andrews Close, said: “It started at one end of the building and just so quickly engulfed it. It swept from one end to the other. It was pretty scary.
“It’s just devastating for Holt. It is the only supermarket and the Post Office is in there as well.
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“There are people who cannot travel who really rely on it. This is a big blow for the town.”
Eight fire crews from across north Norfolk have been called to deal with the blaze, which was reported at 9.15pm. Nobody is reported to have been hurt.
Appliances and firefighters from Holt, Sheringham, Cromer, Fakenham, Wells, Aylsham, Reepham and Mundesley are at the scene.
A hydraulic high platform ladder appliance is also in operation as firefighters seek to dampen the fire from above.
The store was closed at the time. Normally open until 8pm, it is currently closing early at 6pm through the coronavirus crisis.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: “We are currently attending a building fire in Kerridge Way, Holt. Local residents are requested to keep windows and doors closed and remain clear of the area.”
Store owner CT Baker Budgens tweeted: “Please note advice from @Norfolkfire on scene at #Holt #Budgens. Please stay away & allow the emergency services on scene to carry out their work. Updates to follow.”
A few minutes later, the business added: “Emergency services are still dealing with a major fire at our store in #Holt. No reports of any injuries. Please keep safe and stay away from the scene & close windows & doors if you’re in the vicinity.”
Former North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb commented on Facebook: “That is extraordinary and horrifying. I’m flabbergasted that a building can be destroyed so quickly given modern safety standards.”
Dolly Morley, who lives in the town centre, said: “I could smell smoke and looked out of my bedroom window and could not believe it. I phoned 999.
“It was already well alight with smoke and there was debris blown across the high street.
“It was a totally surreal sight and it spread so quickly.
“They close early at the moment. Usually it’s 8pm and people work later restocking. I just hope non one was in there.”
Ceyhan Gokmen, owner of the NelsonFries 4 U fish shop, said: “Some customers came in and said Budgens was on fire. I looked out of the window and could see the flames right over the top of the buildings.
“It was totally shocking. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”