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City centre flats blaze was accidental, fire service says

PUBLISHED: 14:53 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:12 26 May 2020

Left, the dramatic blaze took hold just before 2pm on bank holiday Monday. Right, the completely destroyed roof was clear to see the following morning. Picture: Lisa Vincent/Brittany Woodman

Left, the dramatic blaze took hold just before 2pm on bank holiday Monday. Right, the completely destroyed roof was clear to see the following morning. Picture: Lisa Vincent/Brittany Woodman

Archant

A major blaze which completely destroyed the roof of a city centre building was started accidentally, fire service investigators have concluded.

Fishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANFishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Firefighters spent six hours putting out the blaze at a building containing flats and business premises in Fishergate, Norwich after the alarm was raised just before 2pm on bank holiday Monday.

All those inside were quickly evacuated and no-one was injured in the incident, but the property sustained extensive damage to the upper floors, leaving large parts of the roof missing.

In total, 25 Norfolk Fire and Rescue appliances from across the city and beyond were called to the scene – they worked for hours until the stop message was received at 7.55pm.

A fire crew returned to Fishergate on Tuesday morning to work alongside numerous contractors to ensure the building – deemed ‘not habitable’ by incident commander Emyr Gough – was safe and to carry our their investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Fishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANFishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

That enquiry was completed early in the afternoon as investigators came to the conclusion that the fire was accidental.

Mr Gough said: “The building was a mixture of commercial and mainly residential. We had eight fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms (ALPs) in attendance.

“It’s not often we use two ALPs at the same incident but this incident was large and needed to be worked on from above.

“The fire was located in the roof space which made firefighting difficult. The fire spread quickly from a central roof area to other attached buildings and, unfortunately, the damage was significant.

Fishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANFishergate fire aftermath 25.05.20. Fire crew and construction team handling the aftermath of the fire on a block of flats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“Fire investigation have concluded that the fire was an accidental fire.”

Norfolk Police also confirmed that the blaze was “not being treated as suspicious at this stage”.

While investigators have been able to confirm that the blaze was not started on purpose, no details have yet been released in terms of what caused the building to catch fire.

The road remains closed while contractors and fire service personnel carry out their work on making the building secure.


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