Norwich arson attack which could have cost thousands declared “a stupid act” by police
Arsonists who targeted a local business were minutes from causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage and putting lives and jobs at risk.
The Norfolk Motor Group site on Mile Cross Lane was attacked on Tuesday July 3 in what police have deemed 'a stupid act'. Two men were caught on CCTV entering the site between 7.17pm and 7.27pm and setting fire to one of the bins by the main entrance.
The fire fractured the showroom's window but had it not been for the quick thinking of a fire crew - who spotted black smoke billowing on return to base from another job - it could have spread to where fuel and explosive chemicals are kept.
Norfolk Constabulary PC Holly Harwood said: 'It is fortunate this incident did not escalate into something more serious which would have ruined not only the business but no doubt residents' homes.
'It was a stupid act by the males responsible and our enquiries to locate them continue. I urge anyone with information to come forward.'
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A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service crew from Earlham performed a 'running call', putting the fire out in five minutes after spotting the smoke.
Grant Long, Managing Director of Norfolk Motor Group, said: 'Had the fire service not been passing the site this could have been catastrophic. We have a garage with 580 vehicles and a lot of fuel, we could have seen a significant explosion, it does not bear thinking about.
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'I have no idea at all why anyone would do this. The damage is not the problem, it is the potential that thousands or even millions of pounds worth of damage could have been caused and jobs would have had to have been lost.'
Stuart Horth of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: 'Fire can very quickly get out of control and put lives and property at risk, even if that was not the original aim. Every time we have to attend an arson of any kind it ties up our valuable resources and time meaning our crews are unavailable to deal with genuine emergencies.'
Norfolk police have confirmed they are looking into a possible link with this attack and four others in the Norwich North area, from late June until early July this year.
Anyone with information call police on 101 or 0800 555 111 for anonymity.
Have you suffered an unjust attack? Call the Evening News on 07501 481521 or email email@example.com