Major fire at Rackheath, near Norwich, ‘not suspicious’

A major fire which ripped through a paper recycling factory on Rackheath industrial estate is not being treated as suspicious.

Firefighters were yesterday still at the scene of the huge blaze which seriously damaged the premises of PHS Datashred on Wednesday.

At its height, 60 firefighters and 13 crews tackled the 'deep-seated' fire which broke out at about 8.50am.

It caused serious structural damage to the recently-constructed building, which is believed to have contained about 200 tonnes of paper.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are still ongoing.

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A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: 'Station manager Phil Berry, who is carrying out the investigation, has been gathering information from the owners, occupiers and witnesses.

'The fire-fighting operation continues so he is still talking to various people. The fire is not being treated as suspicious and the investigation will continue.'

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On Wednesday, smoke could be seen for miles around and eyewitnesses said flames could be seen licking through the windows of the large two-storey building.

One fire crew stayed overnight and the paper bales were still smouldering yesterday morning.

A cordon was still in place around PHS Datashred's premises in Wendover Road but the rest of the industrial estate was in operation as usual.

A spokesman for PHS Datashred, which is understood to employ about 20 to 30 staff, confirmed no one was injured in the fire.

She said: 'The fire brigade has been successful in containing the fire, and there is no risk of re-ignition or harm to the public. We are very grateful for their help in dealing with it. We have been careful to support PHS Datashred's staff during this time. All staff are being relocated to suitable business accommodation nearby.

'We have also contacted our customers with notice of the robust contingency plan in place, which has been implemented to ensure the continuity and confidentiality of the services we provide them. Collections will continue to be made, and from their perspective it will be 'business as normal'.'

The fire was the second incident on the estate in just over a year, as KC Cafe was destroyed in a gas explosion in January last year.

Have you got a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

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