Missing roof shows ferocity of city centre fire

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 07 July 2020

This startling shot of a building with a missing roof shows the ferocity of a blaze that took hold on Monday.

Almost 24 hours after the fire started, the smoke has cleared on Fishergate in Norwich to reveal the aftermath - including the roof that was burnt away.

This morning the firefighters had mostly gone except for one crew – in total 25 appliances attended the scene on Monday afternoon – but up to a dozen staff from construction workers to Anglian Water representatives were busy establishing any damage to the structure and making the property safe.

“Obviously safety is our priority,” said one of the contractors. “We’re hard at work getting the scaffolding up and making sure the building is secure.”

The fire tore through the roof and upper floors of Bridge Court, on the side of the street closest to the river, leaving large parts of the roof missing.

Other than the obvious absence of the roof, the other signs of damage are more subtle – fragments of the slate tiles which fell from the building lie in the road, charred from the blaze, while windows in the top floor are black from the smoke.

The upper sections of the building are flats, while the business premises on the ground floor is occupied by Nexus Fostering.

No-one was injured in the fire, with all those inside the building swiftly evacuated after the alarm was raised.

The stop message for firefighters on the ground was received at 7.55pm on Monday, while no hot spots were discovered at the last check at 11.20pm.

The full extent of the damage inside the building is not yet known, with workers prioritising the safety of the structure, though Emyr Gough of Norfolk Fire and Rescue said that the building is “not habitable”.

It is not yet known why the blaze started, though the investigation into cause continues.

The road is currently closed while contractors go about their work assessing the structure of the building.

“It will remain closed at the moment, but hopefully once we’ve made sure it’s safe it will be partially reopened,” said a worker at the scene.

“It’s important we assess the damage first, though.”

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