Investigation continues today into cause of Norwich Airport fire

Emergency crews at Norwich Airport after a fire broke out in the roof of a hangar. Photo: Simon Finl

Emergency crews at Norwich Airport after a fire broke out in the roof of a hangar. Photo: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Investigations will continue today into the cause of a blaze at a hangar at Norwich International airport which threatened to ignite two aircraft filled with aviation fuel.

Emergency crews at Norwich Airport after a fire broke out in the roof of a hangar. Photo: Simon Finl

Emergency crews at Norwich Airport after a fire broke out in the roof of a hangar. Photo: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

About 75 firefighters spent most of the day involved in the 'difficult' operation to put out the fire in the roof of the hangar.

Crews had to take apart the roof before using jets and foam to douse the flames after the blaze spread to the building's ceiling cavities.

The operation has been 'scaled down' throughout the night, and this morning two pumps, an aerial platform and ladder remain providing a watching brief to make sure there is no fire spread.

The crews expect to have left the scene by midday today.

The affected hangar is used by KLM Engineering and Air Livery and is located on Liberator Road, with a number of shops and other airport hangars nearby.

Crews dismantled one of the aircraft and removed the other from the building amid fears that the fire could spread and ignite the 5,000 litres of aviation fuel they were carrying.

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Greg Preston, incident commander for the fire service, admitted 'it could have been a lot worse than it was'.

He said: 'It was difficult because of the nature of the fire, with it being up in the roof. It was difficult access and even once we had established where it was it was difficult to see where it was spreading.'

Firefighters used two aerial ladder platforms - one inside the building and one outside - as well as scaffolding that was in the structure to help remove parts of the roof to allow them access to where the fire was.

Mr Preston said an investigation into the cause of the fire had already been started but would continue today.

Firefighters were alerted at 9.43am and after they first arrived said there were contingency plans to remove the planes - a Boeing 737 and an Airbus - if necessary.

By mid-afternoon, they put the plan into action. One of the planes was removed and the other was dismantled, and remained in the building. No damage was done to either aircraft.

At its height 15 fire appliances were at the scene, including, a water carrier, two aerial ladder platform, a control unit and welfare unit were sent to the scene, as well as the urban search and rescue team.

Ambulances stood on standby although it is not thought anyone was hurt.

Firefighters stripped away the roof, which included asbestos cement sheeting, to try and establish the true extent of the fire.

Mr Preston insisted there was minimal risk to the surrounding area as a result of the fire which had 'no real risk of spreading' with crews quick to get on top of the situation.

Police said they were notified of the incident, but were not sent to the scene because there were no suspicious circumstances and it was not believed to be arson. No road closures were put in place, and the airport continued to operate.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for Norwich International Airport said: 'The fire is being controlled by the fire services, and is taking place in an Air Livery hangar. The airport and services are not affected.'

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