Company counts the cost after 60 firefighters tackle “devastating” blaze
- Credit: Ian Burt
A thriving west Norfolk business is facing difficult times after its main site was ruined by fire, less than a year after taking it on.
About 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at Old Station Yard on Gayton Road, East Winch, from about 1.30am yesterday.
Sixteen fire appliances were involved throughout the day and crews were expected to remain on site overnight.
Tony Smith, who owns Beltec, which took over the existing WWS Tarpaulins site in March, said: 'It's very early days, but the premises has been totally devastated.
'Tens of thousands of pounds' worth of stock has been destroyed. There was also some very expensive machinery in the building.
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'But the main thing is that no-one was hurt. It's awful for the business and devastating for us as a company, but we will carry on.
'I don't know where the three people working at the site will go now. We still have to service our customer base from the area.
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'The business has been doing fine and it's been a reasonable move.'
The owner of the site, Tony Yule, is abroad but is expected back in the country today.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services station manager Clive Wells said: 'The building was a multi-use industrial unit.
'We have no idea yet of the cause of the fire. The whole building has been destroyed, plus associated structures, outbuildings and containers.'
The site contained aerosol cans which were exploding, and it was too dangerous for firefighters to initially approach the building, so they applied water from a distance.
Crews only started to scale back resources about 6am when the fire was under control. Thankfully, there were no acetylene cylinders involved in the fire, but nothing was salvageable from the building.
Neighbours were woken after hearing a loud bang around 1.30am, causing their windows to rattle.
Mervyn Peak, 67, who lives opposite Old Station Yard with his wife Lynda, 66, said: 'The windows reverberated and at first I thought it was a bird striking against the glass. It was fairly alarming. When I saw the emergency services arrive I assumed it had been some sort of gas cylinder which had exploded.'
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