Investigations under way into cause of large fire which broke out at car workshop on Starling Road in Norwich

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Roa

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Road, Norwich, last night (January 13 2017). Photo: Archant. - Credit: Archant

Investigations are today under way into the cause of a large fire which broke out at the site of a car workshop in the north of Norwich.

The fire at the car workshop on Starling Road. Picture: Kevin Murphy

The fire at the car workshop on Starling Road. Picture: Kevin Murphy - Credit: Archant

About 30 firefighters tackled the blaze in Starling Road which started at about 11.30pm last night and fire crews worked for a couple of hours to bring the fire under control.

People living in the nearby areas were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows shut to protect themselves from the thick smoke.

Firefighters have today returned to the scene to carry out an investigation to establish the cause of the fire, and police are also at the scene.

Stuart Herd, watch manager of the Sprowston fire crew which attended the incident last night, said: 'We were the first attending crew. We had been informed there had been a fire and that witnesses had seen it go through the roof. On arrival there was a fully developed fire which had broken through the roof.

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'We committed firefighting from the courtyard area with main jets into the roof area.'

He said there had been lots of potential hazards in the building, which housed a spraying booth and workshop areas, and these included four cars and propane and butane cylinders. He added that there had also been concerns that the building could collapse.

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Mr Herd said some firefighters entered the smoke-logged building to the left of the main building involved in the fire to investigate fire spread.

Fire crews from Earlham, Sprowston, Carrow, Hethersett, Wroxham and Attleborough and an aerial ladder platform all attended and police closed Starling Road and neighbouring Waterloo Road.

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In total it took a couple of hours before the crews had the fire under control, and firefighters were at the scene until about 3.30am this morning.

Mr Herd said that the because the site was close to terraced housing, the fire service had requested support from the police to potentially evacuate nearby homes but he said that in the end this had not been necessary and that people were instead told to stay inside and keep their windows shut.

He said nobody was believed to have been inside the property at the time of the fire, and that there was extensive damage to the building with all four cars that had been inside burnt out.

Forty-seven-year-old Kevin Murphy, who lives close by, said he was first aware of the fire at about 11.30pm when he saw smoke from his balcony.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Roa

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Road, Norwich, last night (January 13 2017). Photo: Archant. - Credit: Archant

By that time he said fire crews were already on the scene with more arriving soon after, and he praised the firefighters for their efforts in fighting the blaze. He said smoke from the fire spread as far as Heath Road and Stacy Road.

Glenn Lambert, a manager for Chipro Developments which owns the site, said he was informed of the fire this morning.

'It was a big shock this morning,' he said, adding that he was waiting to hear from the fire service about the extent of the damage.

He said the company, which was previously Norwich Estates, had bought the site in June 2016 with the intention of redeveloping it and building 19 properties, but in the meantime had allowed the businesses that were already running from the site - a car spraying business and a mechanics business - to continue their tenancies.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Roa

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Road, Norwich, last night (January 13 2017). Photo: Archant. - Credit: Archant

He said the building on the left of the site was vacant.

Did you see the fire last night? Email reporter Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772428.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Roa

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out in a car workshop in Starling Road, Norwich, last night (January 13 2017). Photo: Archant. - Credit: Archant

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