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Crews to stay overnight as fire still burning at ‘completely destroyed’ business

PUBLISHED: 17:14 03 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:09 04 March 2019

The aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel Bennett

The aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel Bennett

Archant

Fire fighters will be staying throughout the night at the scene of a devastating blaze that has destroyed a Norfolk business.

The aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel BennettThe aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel Bennett

Plumes of smoke are still billowing from Power Tool Services on Rackheath Industrial Estate, more than eight hours after it started.

King’s Lynn station manager Mac Mcleod, at the scene at Earl Road, said the cause was still a mystery.

He added: “The initial structure collapsed on itself. The property has been completely destroyed. The adjoining property next to it has been saved.”

Mr Mcleod said at least one crew would remain throughout the night, and said nobody had been able to get into the building because it was not not safe, with the fire burning underneath the burnt objects above.

The aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel BennettThe aftermath of a fire in Rackheath. Photo: Daniel Bennett

At least six appliances plus specialist appliances tackled the fire when it was at its height.

One police car is still at the scene.

As the blaze raged, people living nearby were urged to close their doors and windows, while others were told to avoid the industrial estate.

No one has been hurt.

Rackheath Industrial Estate. Pic: Google Maps.Rackheath Industrial Estate. Pic: Google Maps.

Businesses on other parts of the estate remained open, although Norfolk police evacuated people from nearby buildings including the snooker club.

A huge plume of smoke could be seen for a large area around the scene.

Peter Rowe, group manager and incident commander, said: “At 9am we received a call from the owner to report a fire in his industrial unit.

“We arrived at the scene and saw a well-established fire. Because of the contents of the building we are staying defensive.

Firefighters are tackling a major blaze at the Rackheath Industrial Estate. Picture: Neil DidsburyFirefighters are tackling a major blaze at the Rackheath Industrial Estate. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“Our plan is to protect the adjoining buildings. Very serious damage has been done. A lot will be gone or damaged.

“We are doing our best to stop it spreading to adjoining buildings.”

The shocked owner did not want to speak in detail about what had happened but said he was inside and got out to call the emergency services.

Special inspector Mike Chambers said: “We have evacuated the snooker club and put a cordon in place.

Firefighters at the blaze at Rackheath Industrial Estate. Picture: Neil DidsburyFirefighters at the blaze at Rackheath Industrial Estate. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“We are monitoring people and stopping them from entering the area.”

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service tweeted at just after 10.30am: “Please be advised we are currently dealing with a fire in an industrial unit in Rackheath.

“We strongly advise to avoid the area. As a precautionary measure we recommend closing doors and windows if you live in the vicinity.”

One worker said he had seen five fire engines on his way into work. He said he could see smoke billowing up, but no flames.

The fire on Rackheath Industrial Estate this morning. Photo: Hayley LeeThe fire on Rackheath Industrial Estate this morning. Photo: Hayley Lee

A local business owner who rents a number of local units said he had received a call about the fire and arrived to see the smoke.

Hayley Lee works in an office nearby and said: “The first I knew about it was when I heard the sirens at 9.15am. I then saw a little smoke which got worse as the time went on.”

In January 2011. Rackheath Industrial Estate was the scene of an explosion which completely destroyed a cafe on the site.

The explosion happened at night, but it caused chaos on the estate for the next few days.

Firefighters are tackling a large blaze on the Rackheath Industrial Estate. Photo: Daniel BennettFirefighters are tackling a large blaze on the Rackheath Industrial Estate. Photo: Daniel Bennett

The following year, a major fire ripped through the PHS Datashred paper recycling factory on the estate. It caused serious structural damage to the building, with 60 firefighters tackling the blaze at its height.

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