Mile Cross flat fire not being treated as suspicious

Firefighters have said they are not treating a blaze at a city tower block as suspicious.

About 80 firefighters were called to deal with Monday's fire at Markham Tower, in Bowers Avenue, Mile Cross, which led to a number of flats being damaged. Nobody was believed to have been injured.

As the investigation into the cause of the fire carries on today people living in the Norwich City Council-owned building continue to deal with the aftermath of what happened.

Brenda Arthur, Norwich City Council leader, praised the tower's tenants and staff for how they evacuated the building and said temporary accommodation was being found for those whose homes had been affected.

She said: 'We would like to thank our staff and all our tenants for remaining calm and carrying out our evacuation procedure to the letter. It's a tribute to everyone involved that no-one was hurt.


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'We understand this is an upsetting time for all those affected by the fire. Some of our tenants have already indicated they would like to stay with family and friends while repairs are carried out.

'We will work out the best form of accommodation for those who can't call on relatives so that everyone can be looked after properly until they can get back to their homes.'

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The city council has said one flat is badly damaged by fire and 10 flats have water damage. There appears to be no serious structural damage, and only minimal smoke damage to the majority of the building.

The fire in the 10-storey tower began in an eighth floor flat and the person living in the flat was not at home at the time.

Stuart Horth, incident commander from Norfolk Fire Rescue Service, said the fire was put out within 10 minutes just as it was starting to spread to floor above. He praised the work of the fire crews and also the swift actions of the people living in the building who evacuated the building before emergency services arrived and helped avert a more serious situation.

David Freeman, 45, and of Saffron Square, Catton, was with his girlfriend at her first floor flat at the time.

He said: 'We heard shouting telling us to get out and when we did we saw smoke and within five minutes the window had blown out. We could see a few flames out the bottom of the window at first but within a few minutes they were huge and the whole flat was obviously engulfed.

'It was terrifying and we were all worried in case anyone was in there. It was panic, really.'

Samantha Kerslake was heading back to the tower when she saw the emergency services outside.

She said: 'When we saw the fire it seemed out of control, with bits of debris coming out of the window. It's a miracle no-one was hurt.'

The 10-storey Markham Tower was built in 1966 and has 44 flats which are all occupied by city council tenants.

• Norwich community station Future Radio has been unable to broadcast on FM because its transmitter is on top of Markham Tower.

Terry Lee, station manager at Future Radio, said the power to the station's transmitter had been switched off since about 6pm on Monday and so the station has not been able to broadcast on FM.

He said listeners were still able to hear the station's shows as normal online at www.futureradio.co.uk

• Have you been affected by the fire? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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