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'I just looked into a black hole' - Business owner describes moment he saw fire damage

PUBLISHED: 13:40 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 04 June 2019

Firefighters tackling a Acro Precision Engineering in Catfield. Picture: Luke Powell

Firefighters tackling a Acro Precision Engineering in Catfield. Picture: Luke Powell

Archant

A Norfolk business owner is "absolutely gutted" after a fire destroyed machines on his premises.

Emergency services were called to Acro Precision Engineering Sutton Road in Catfield, north of Potter Heigham, to reports of a commercial building on fire shortly after 5.35am on Tuesday (June 4).

Fred Pain, 63, owner of the business, said that some expensive machine had been damaged "beyond repair".

Fire crews from Stalham, Martham, Wroxham, North Walsham and the aerial ladder platform from Great Yarmouth had rushed to the scene while members of the public were warned to remain clear.

Martin Harris, incident commander, said the unit was "red hot" inside by the time firefighters, numbering 35, had arrived.

Emergency services were called to Sutton Road in Catfield, north of Potter Heigham, to reports of a commercial building on fire shortly after 5.35am. Picture: ArchantEmergency services were called to Sutton Road in Catfield, north of Potter Heigham, to reports of a commercial building on fire shortly after 5.35am. Picture: Archant

He said: "As the first machine arrived smoke was coming out of the unit.

"It [the unit] was red hot and unventilated in there so progress was slow. It took us about 45 minutes to locate and secure the fire."

The incident is not believed to be suspicious but a fire investigation officer was expected to attend the scene, he said.

Mr Pain said he was on his way to work when he noticed fire engines on the road.

"I thought there had been a bad car accident," he said.

"I heard there was a fire in the industrial estate and got a little nervous, and then I heard it was in an engineering firm."

The owner said that when he arrived on the scene the building's doors were open.

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"I just looked into a black hole," he said.

Mr Pain established the firm, which makes precision components for machinery, in 1980.

He said that three representatives from North Norfolk Council had been to the factory.

He also thanked neighbouring businesses, including Trend Marine, which had offered a helping hand after the blaze.

"We're not quitters, we'll be back in business," he said.

"It's a matter of taking stock and having a forced holiday."

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