Investigation continues today into fire which damaged Lowestoft caravan workshop
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Investigations into the cause of a blaze which severely damaged a workshop are set to continue today.
Thick black clouds of smoke billowed across the area's skyline after the Lowestoft Touring Caravans' premises, on the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate, went up in flames at 1.51pm yesterday.
No-one was injured in the blaze, with the flames confined to one workshop in Pinbush Road, Lowestoft – but the unit contained four vehicles that are believed to have been badly-damaged.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) – which is campaigning against proposed cuts to Lowestoft's fire cover – said the incident showed the importance of maintaining four fire engines in the town.
As Suffolk County Council's public consultation into the future provision for Suffolk's fire service continues, FBU Lowestoft and District members stressed that removing one of Lowestoft's four fire engines and closing Wrentham fire station, near Southwold, would put lives, property and the safety of fire-fighters at risk.
Phil Johnston, FBU branch secretary, said: 'Incidents like this absolutely show the value of the fire service, as the third appliance from Lowestoft South fire station was unable to attend.
'This is because we were five crew members short of being able to man the appliance; which is one of the main issues we have across Suffolk and the rest of England.'
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Two crews from Lowestoft South and a third engine from North Lowestoft attended yesterday's blaze.
Station commander Russell Punchard said: 'When we arrived we could see no flames at all, just a lot of big black clouds of smoke filled the air. Most of the flames were confined to one workshop, which had vehicles inside.'
Fifteen firefighters attended the blaze and found the building that measured 10m by 15m and housed 'four fully fuelled vehicles and also a number of gas cylinders'.
Witness Mick Brand, 62, an MOT tester at Harvest Drive testing station, said: 'It's incidents like this that prove you need all the fire engines Lowestoft has, rather than cutting back on them.'
Chris Arlow was in Kirkley when he saw 'lots of billowing black smoke'. Returning to his business premises nearby, Mr Arlow added: 'There was a lot of heat there.'
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.
A police spokesman said officers assisted with traffic control, adding: 'There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.'