Neighbours describe shock as Lowestoft repair garage goes up in flames

A fire started at a workshop in Long Road, in Lowestoft

A fire started at a workshop in Long Road, in Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

Neighbours have described their shock at hearing huge explosions as a major fire tore through a repair garage, devastating a man's business and nearly engulfing nearby homes.

A fire started at a workshop in Long Road, in Lowestoft

A fire started at a workshop in Long Road, in Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

Residents were enjoying a peaceful evening in their homes when they saw thick, black smoke billowing out of gardens at the Auto Repair mechanical and bodywork garage in Long Road, Lowestoft, owned by businessman Jason Beck.

The aftermath of the fire in Long Road, Lowestoft. The damage to John Davison's shed. Picture by: An

The aftermath of the fire in Long Road, Lowestoft. The damage to John Davison's shed. Picture by: Andrew Papworth. - Credit: Archant

Aaron Robbins, 21, whose garage roof was destroyed as the flames spread, said: 'I was sitting at the table in the dining room when I glanced out of the window and saw smoke coming from over the fence.

'I assumed it was a barbecue which was being put out but then I saw the flames.'

A video by Daniel Doddington posted to the Facebook page of our sister paper, the Lowestoft Journal, shows residents watching as the flames became visible behind the homes in Long Road.

A firefighter then goes down an alleyway between the homes to see what is happening, before returning a few moments later and beckoning a group of residents to leave the area.

Firefighters on the two fire engines that arrived shortly called the 999 call at 6pm on Sunday soon called for more back-up, with 10 vehicles attending in total.

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After it became clear there were gas canisters present, they evacuated nearby homes.

The neighbours watched the blaze from behind a cordon in the street for the next two hours, before being allowed back inside.

'It was just a panic,' Mr Robbins added. 'At first it wasn't damaging ours but then the fire got bigger and then the explosions started pounding. I knew then that it was going to spread to ours at some point. It was way too big to stop.

'It was more shock than anything. It just happened out of the blue.'

John Davison and his wife, Nicola, had been out at the time when Mr Davison got a phone call to say: 'There's a fire at the back of yours.'

The family then faced an anxious wait as the fire spread to the 10m by 8m wooden shed in their back garden, destroying tools and a tumble dryer.

'When we came back, there were roof tiles flying in the air,' Mr Davison said.

'If it had gone to the guttering, it could've gone to the house.'

He described the scene in his back garden as 'devastation' when he was allowed back in his home.

The neighbouring garden to his property, not currently occupied, was completely destroyed.

Firefighters were damping down hot-spots until 12.30am but as of yesterday had not started an investigation into the cause of the fire.

'It was quite scary when you think what's going on at your property,' Mr Davison added.

'At least no one was hurt. I've lost a few tiles but that's no major thing. One man has lost his business.'

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