Evacuation from amusement arcade in Hemsby after building fills up with smoke

A witness described seeing Caesars arcade on Beach Road fill-up with “black smoke” shortly before 2p

A witness described seeing Caesars arcade on Beach Road fill-up with black smoke shortly before 2pm today. Photo: James Flynn - Credit: Archant

A fire chief is urging businesses to train workers in fire safety after quick-thinking staff prevented a major blaze in a seaside amusement arcade.

The electrical fire at Caesars Arcade on Beach Road, Hemsby, broke out just before 2pm today while the attraction was busy with Bank Holiday customers.

Simon Mason, Great Yarmouth fire station manager, who attended the emergency, said it started in a light fitting in the ceiling which burnt a hole in the carpet and spread to one of the games machines.

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Before firefighters arrived from Martham and Yarmouth just after 2.05pm, some staff put out the flames with a fire extinguisher preventing it spreading while others helped all the customers out of the arcade quickly and safely.

No-one was injured or taken to hospital.

Mr Mason said: 'I'm quite confident that had the staff not acted as swiftly as they did we would could have been facing a significant fire when we arrived at the scene.

'The staff did an excellent job in quite a stressful situation. The fire had been put out efficiently by staff. I'm confident they saved multi-million pounds worth of damage.

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'Our message is to encourage all businesses and shop owners to make sure their staff are fully briefed on fire precautions.'

A witness described seeing Caesars arcade fill-up with 'black smoke'.

James Gray, who owns Lost World Adventure Golf next door to Caesars, said: 'You could not see anything inside because the whole building was full of black smoke.

'Hats off to the staff though, people were evacuated and they dealt with it very well.

'I heard the fire extinguishers go off inside and I think they had it under control by the time the fire service arrived.'

Some 20 firefighters attended the incident, including one crew from Stalham and the aerial ladder platform from Yarmouth.

Fire crews checked the roof of the single-storey arcade to check the fire had stopped before they left the scene at 3.10pm.

About seven police officers also attended, to control the road and people outside the arcade, and one ambulance officer was also called.

For fire safety advice visit www.norfolkfireservice.gov.uk/nfrs/

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