Fire crews clear smoke from Castle Mall in Norwich
- Credit: Steve Adams
Hundreds of customers were evacuated from the shops in Castle Mall in the early afternoon as firefighters rushed to answer a fire alarm.
Crews battled to clear the smoke-logged building to reach the plant room where an overheated compressor had triggered the alarm.
After being given the all-clear yesterday, Castle Mall bosses praised the swift responses from fire crews and their own staff to evacuate the Mall.
Castle Mall centre manager Amanda Phillips said: 'A compressor overheated and smoke from it caused the fire alarm to activate. Norfolk Fire Service attended quickly and requested a full evacuation of Castle Mall.
'All our customers and around 250 retail staff were evacuated safely and promptly by 13.10.
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'All members of the Castle Mall team have specific jobs in this type of situation which they carried out very efficiently.
'Norfolk Fire Service were marvellous and there was very little damage following the incident.
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'We reopened Castle Mall to shoppers at 2.10pm.
'We would like to thank Norfolk Fire Service for their swift attendance and for dealing with the situation. We'd also like to thank our shoppers for their cooperation and patience.'
Four fire appliances and 20 firefighters were in attendance along with three rapid response vehicles and two unmarked police cars.
Emergency services cordoned off a large area around the mall and motorists were not allowed to return to their vehicles in the Castle Mall car park.
Cinema goers were interrupted by a public announcement telling them to 'leave the centre immediately', according to Janice Robinson, 69.
'We just had a voice coming over the loudspeaker telling everybody to get out of the building,' she said.
During the incident Norfolk Fire Service group commander Greg Preston said they were working hard to access the cause of the smoke.
'It is in an unventilated area, so we are trying to push the smoke out of the building. They have really robust evacuation procedures here, which worked.'