Fresh safety fears after blaze

IAN CLARKE Firefighters have voiced new fears over the danger of a dilapidated 18th century building in Dereham after another blaze was started in it today.

IAN CLARKE

Firefighters have voiced new fears over the danger of a dilapidated 18th century building in Dereham after another blaze was started in it.

Two crews were called to the grade II listed Old Guildhall in St Withburga Lane at about 8.40am on Tuesday after a passer-by had spotted smoke coming out of an upstairs window.

Firefighters found a window had been forced and the fire had started on the second floor.

Fortunately it was quickly put out but it is the latest blaze in the building, which has been empty since Breckland Council stopped using it for offices.

A long-running wrangle has been on going over the building being redeveloped for housing and concern has grown over its run down state.

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On several occasions there have been break-ins and small fires started.

Fire chiefs have previously called it a “disaster waiting to happen” and expressed worries about lack of security.

After the fire, Dereham watch manager Kevin Greentree described it as a “danger trap” and said the fire could easily have got hold if it had not been spotted.