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Firefighters broke their way in to tackle Norwich building fire

PUBLISHED: 09:35 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 12 April 2018

Fire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Fire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Geraldine Scott

Firefighters had to break their way into a Norwich business last night as a ferocious blaze broke out on the ground floor.

Crews from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene of a building fire off Guildhall Hill in Norwich. Picture: Richard Porritt.Crews from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene of a building fire off Guildhall Hill in Norwich. Picture: Richard Porritt.

It happened at Rainbow Wholefoods, in Labour In Vain Yard, off Guildhall Hill, where the fire is believed to have started in the stock room as the back of the shop.

A post on Rainbow Wholefoods Facebook page today said the shop would be closed for a while and that updates would follow on its re-opening.

Fire crews were called at around 9pm after Kane Allsopp, 23, who lives in Labour In Vain Yard with his girlfriend 18-year-old Ria Fallon raised the alarm.

Mr Allsopp, a supermarket manager, said: “I went out to get a coffee and as I was walking back it smelt like sparklers.”

Crews from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a fire at Rainbow Wholefoods, in Labour in Vain Yard, off Guildhall Hill in Norwich. Picture: Geraldine Scott.Crews from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a fire at Rainbow Wholefoods, in Labour in Vain Yard, off Guildhall Hill in Norwich. Picture: Geraldine Scott.

Mr Allsopp heard the alarm but was not sure where it was coming from at first, but he noticed two pieces of paper in the shop’s window had blackened.

He went around the back but when he returned to the front the windows had showed signs the fire was inside.

Mr Allsopp said Lauren Murphy was coming out of the nearby The Pilates Studio, which she owns, at the same time.

Mr Allsopp said: “I asked her if she had the number for the shop so she called them and I called 999 and they were here within five minutes.”

Fire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine ScottFire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Four crews arrived but were faced with a roller shutter at the shop’s entrance, so they had to break their way in.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue (incident commander John Wilby said: “The issue we had was gaining entry, it took a little bit of time. We had to break our way in. But once we were in we sent in six breathing apparatus teams and we extinguished the fire, we also went in from the rear.”

Simon Mason, group manager, added: “What we were faced with was a very secure premises, lots of smoke which meant they had to feel their way around.”

Mr Wilby said once they were inside the fire was out “very quickly” but the automatic alarm in the building had stopped it spreading further and potentially putting lives at risk.

He said: “The automatic detection went off and it meant the neighbours heard it, so it could have been a lot worse. It just shows the benefit of having a automatic system, not just for business protection but for life protection.”

Mr Wilby said although the fire was contained to the ground floor, smoke had spread to the first floor and crews would remain on the scene to ventilate the property and launch an investigation into the cause.

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