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Pub staff armed with fire extinguishers rushed to try and save burning van

PUBLISHED: 07:50 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 22 January 2019

The van on fire near the Lawson Road junction in Norwich. Photo: Mark White

The van on fire near the Lawson Road junction in Norwich. Photo: Mark White

Archant

Pub staff and members of the public armed themselves with fire extinguishers to try and save a burning van in Norwich.

The drama unfolded on Sprowston Road on Monday morning as a red Volkswagen Transporter burst into flames at the Lawson Road junction.

The fire was spotted by Fat Cat Brewery Tap landlord Mark White and bar manager Richard Rouse who immediately rushed over to help.

Mr White said: “We noticed smoke billowing out of the van, so Rich and I grabbed some fire extinguishers and ran out.

“Unfortunately the flames inside the cab were too big. It was too dangerous to approach and you never know if it is going to explode.”

The van on fire near the Lawson Road junction. Photo: Mark WhiteThe van on fire near the Lawson Road junction. Photo: Mark White

The pair were joined by other members of the public who had taken extinguishers out of their vehicles to try and help.

Mr White said as they backed away, Mr Rouse called the fire service, which arrived within 10 minutes.

He said the van’s driver was already out of the vehicle.

“All we could do was stand back and watch as the fire service did their job,” Mr White said.

The van on fire near the Lawson Road junction in Norwich. Photo: Wayne YellopThe van on fire near the Lawson Road junction in Norwich. Photo: Wayne Yellop

“We were incredibly impressed at just how quickly the services put it out and cleaned it all up.

“You would never have known a fire had been there.”

Norfolk fire service was called to the scene at about 10.20am.

A crew from the Carrow station attended and six firefighters tackled the blaze.

They left the scene at 11am and the burnt-out wreckage was towed away.

Wayne Yellop, 51, who lives nearby, watched the incident from a window in his house after firefighters told him to stay inside.

He said: “I was concerned because the driver was walking around with a baby’s car seat.

“You think the worst, but obviously there was no one in it.

“The fire had gone into the back of the vehicle, but it looked as though it started at the front.

“The whole windscreen was gone.”

Video footage from the scene shows a large plume of white smoke filling the entire street.

A firefighter can be seen spraying water from a hose through the vehicle’s windscreen.

The firefighters were given coffee and biscuits from the pub.

• Are you the van’s owner? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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