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WATCH: Fire crews tackle blaze at Norwich Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 08:54 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 16 January 2019

The fire service outside the Theatre Royal in Norwich following a blaze in the kitchen of the theatre. Picture Dan Grimmer.

The fire service outside the Theatre Royal in Norwich following a blaze in the kitchen of the theatre. Picture Dan Grimmer.

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Firefighters tackled a blaze in a kitchen at Norwich's Theatre Royal, which saw Theatre Street, Rampant Horse Street and Chapel Field North closed while they dealt with the incident.

Fire engines outside the Theatre Royal in Norwich. Picture Dan GrimmerFire engines outside the Theatre Royal in Norwich. Picture Dan Grimmer

Fire crews were called at just after 7am on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the fire service said it had been called to an alarm activation at a commercial building on Theatre Street, which turned out to be a tumble dryer fire.

They said at the height of the incident there were five crews called - from Carrow, Sprowston, Hethersett, Earlham and the aerial ladder platform - but that the response was then scaled down to three.

The Theatre confirmed on Twitter that everyone was safe and the building would reopen to the public at 11am, with a matinee performance of Cinderella going ahead.

Police car blocking where Rampant Horse Street turns into Theatre Street. Picture Dan GrimmerPolice car blocking where Rampant Horse Street turns into Theatre Street. Picture Dan Grimmer

And by 9am, the city centre roads had reopened.

On the scene, Stefan Rider, from Norfolk fire, said crews had dealt with a fire in the kitchen at the Theatre Royal.

He said the alarm system and quick actions of the theatre’s manager stopped the fire becoming worse, and that there was quite a bit of smoke in the building, which was being cleared.

He said that crews had been offering reassurance to people living in the Dencora House flats, and that while some had left their homes voluntarily, there was not a need for evacuation.

Firefighters at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. Picture Dan Grimmer.Firefighters at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. Picture Dan Grimmer.

Mr Rider said: “Fortunately, thanks to an effective alarm system, the swift actions of the manager that came out from the Theatre Royal and the professionalism of the crews, we have managed to contain the fire to a small area.

“But there has been a bit of smoke spread, so we have been in the flats next door just reassuring the occupiers and making sure that smoke doesn’t spread around the building.
“We believe the fire was in the kitchen. We sent in a breathing apparatus team with a hose reel jet who have extinguished the fire.”
He said the investigations would now begin to establish the cause of the fire.

He said: “What we will do now is try to identify the cause and that will help us then, in the future, make sure these kinds of fires don’t happen anywhere else.”

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, said: “Following a small fire in a tumble-dryer within the kitchen at Kemp’s Restaurant at Norwich Theatre Royal this morning, we can confirm that everyone in the building and our neighbours are safe and well.

“The fire was contained within a small area in the kitchen and Norfolk Fire Service extinguished it very quickly.

“Norwich Theatre Royal will reopen to the public at 11am and this afternoon’s performance of Cinderella by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia will go ahead as scheduled at 2.30pm.

“Kemp’s Restaurant will remain closed until further notice but a limited catering service will be available in our bars. We are in the process of making contact with all today’s bookers to let them know the situation.

“I would also like to personally thank all the Norfolk Fire Service team that attended for their swift, efficient, professional and friendly support.”

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia are due to perform two shows of its Cinderella production at the theatre today, with a matinee performance at 2.30pm.

First Norwich has said that due to the Theatre Street road closure the 21 and 22 outbound services will be stopping outside Sainsbury’s. The 23 and 24 outbound services will also be stopping outside Sainsbury’s with inbound buses stopping outside Debenhams.

Norwich police tweeted to warn people of the road closures, and advised any members of the public to “take a different route for the time being until the road reopens”.

Keep up to date with all the latest travel information via our live traffic map.

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