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New fire station opens at Downham Market

PUBLISHED: 11:34 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 15 May 2018

The new fire station at Downham Market. Picture: Chris Bishop

The new fire station at Downham Market. Picture: Chris Bishop

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A fire station which burned down is being replaced with a new blue light hub.

The Downham Market fire station blaze. Picture by Kathy Mellish.The Downham Market fire station blaze. Picture by Kathy Mellish.

Flames tore through Downham Market Fire Station in March 2014. On-call firefighters responding to their pagers arrived to find their own station ablaze.

In the aftermath Norfolk County Council said Ryston Close would become a hub for the emergency services, with the ambulance service being offered accommodation at the fire station. With the police station already next door, the move would leave all three emergency services based on the same site.

It has three engine bays and a training tower for the station’s compliment of a watch manager, two crew managers and nine firefighters to practise their skills.

The extra engine bays mean the station can house a rescue boat as well as a fire appliance.

Fire fighters surveying the devastation after last night's fire at Downham Market Fire Station. Picture: Ian BurtFire fighters surveying the devastation after last night's fire at Downham Market Fire Station. Picture: Ian Burt

Most of the build cost was covered by insurance with £500,000 invested by Norfolk County Council to give the new station three bays.

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of council’s communities committee, said: “Crews have already been making good use of our new tower and full size drill yard which was created thanks to the changes made to the layout of the site. This vital space means that we will be able to train much needed new recruits locally.”

Tony White, county councillor for Downham, said “It was impressive that once we were through the usual steps of design and planning the actual build was completed in just 20 weeks to a very high standard. It’s given Downham Market a top notch resource we can be proud of.”

Deputy chief constable Nick Dean said: “This opportunity will enable police and fire to enhance their operational effectiveness and build on the already excellent relations we have across our emergency services.”

Day 3 of the Downham Market Fire Station fire - Fire investigators search through wreckage of the building to find the cause. Picture: Matthew Usher.Day 3 of the Downham Market Fire Station fire - Fire investigators search through wreckage of the building to find the cause. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said: “This welcome new development will allow closer working between service personnel, which is vital in improving effectiveness and efficiency.”

The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault on board the fire engine kept at the station.

The appliance was completely destroyed. At its height oxygen cylinders on board it exploded, with some flying into the street. It later emerged that the station did not have sprinklers. The new one has them fitted. It will be officially opened at a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, May 16 (7pm).


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