Lack of phone signals a disaster

Flames lap the roof of the cottages at Silvergate.

Flames lap the roof of the cottages at Silvergate. - Credit: Archant

Fears have been voiced that the lack of mobile phone coverage in north Norfolk could soon lead to a fatality.

One of the families return to Silvergate Cottage after their home was destroyed by fire over the wee

One of the families return to Silvergate Cottage after their home was destroyed by fire over the weekend. Pictured from left Teri Holt, Rebecca Spinks, Thomas Spinks and Andrew Taylor with one of their cats Tuffty. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A local runner spoke out after a devastating blaze destroyed a row of thatched cottages at Silvergate, near Blickling Hall, by Aylsham, and left residents homeless.

He revealed he was one of the first to spot smoke coming from the roof of the building but, when he dialled 999 on his mobile, his phone cut out due to the lack of signal.

The 36-year-old eyewitness, who we have agreed not to name, said: 'It was like a scene out of a disaster movie.

'I was running over the Weavers' Way towards Silvergate when I spotted some smoke coming from the roof and immediately realised something was wrong. I pulled my phone out of my bag as I sprinted towards it and dialled 999 but the call wouldn't connect due to the network coverage, or lack of it.

Emergency services raced to the scene after the alarm was raised.

Emergency services raced to the scene after the alarm was raised. - Credit: Archant


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'Thankfully, when I reached the road, I met one of the residents who confirmed the fire service had been called and the first crew arrived soon after. If they hadn't, and in different circumstances, it might not only have been the phone signal that was dead.'

Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze, which broke out last Saturday around 4pm.

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All the residents escaped before the roof caved in, with one even managing to rescue his car from the driveway before the emergency services blocked the street.

An online fund has been set up to help those affected and has raised over £1000 in just a few days. To donate, log on to: https://www.gofundme.com/22egxd8

What is the phone signal like where you are? Email: ally.mcgilvray@archant.co.uk

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