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Worker flown to hospital after 'explosion' at fireproofing factory

PUBLISHED: 10:28 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11 26 September 2019

Police had cordoned off the road for a number of hours. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Police had cordoned off the road for a number of hours. Photo: Matthew Nixon

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A man has been flown to hospital after an explosion at a business specialising in fireproofing.

The town has been filled with smoke from the fire. Photo: Celeste NewsonThe town has been filled with smoke from the fire. Photo: Celeste Newson

A man in his 50s has been flown to hospital after an explosion at a business specialising in fireproofing.

Emergency services were called to reports of an explosion at Fabric Flare, on Gosford Road in Beccles, at around 9.40am on Tuesday, September 24.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance were also called, with one injured man flown to hospital.

The business, alongside neighbours Beccles Tile and Bathroom Centre and Beccles Carpet and Rug Centre, was cleared, with workers returning inside shortly after 11.30am.

Mark Curtis, a worker at the centre, said: "I don't know what happened. I came through from doing my work and went to speak to my manager, then heard the fire alarm going.

"I thought it was a drill but it turned out it wasn't. There was a load of smoke and fire. It was a shock really. You never expect that to happen.

"The damage to the building is contained to one room and is nothing structural, but fire and police aren't letting us in there until they're sure."

Gerry Thurston, 67, manager of Beccles Tile and Bathroom Centre, said: "Everything is okay now but we were all evacuated for about two hours.

Emergency services respond to a fire at Fabric Flare in Beccles. PHOTO: Matt Nixon.Emergency services respond to a fire at Fabric Flare in Beccles. PHOTO: Matt Nixon.

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"I was amazed by the fire service response.

"It was a gas explosion. They have all sorts of chemicals in there for fireproofing.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: "One person has been injured, but is conscious and breathing.

The East of England Air Ambulance Service have been called to Gosford Road, in Beccles. PHOTO: NARSThe East of England Air Ambulance Service have been called to Gosford Road, in Beccles. PHOTO: NARS

"There are chemicals in the building and a gas canister, but they are not involved in the fire or near it. It is not a chemical incident, just a fire."

Police officers also attended the scene to support fire crews.

Gosford Road was closed while emergency services responded.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service confirmed they had been called, saying: "We were called to an incident at 9.40am in Gosford Road, Beccles.

Two fire appliances from Beccles and Lowestoft South attended the incident. Photo: Matthew NixonTwo fire appliances from Beccles and Lowestoft South attended the incident. Photo: Matthew Nixon

"We sent multiple resources including our hazardous area response team (HART) and an air ambulance from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA)."

The East Anglian Air Ambulance Service said a man in his 50s suffered a medical emergency.

They added: "The patient was carried, by air, to Broomfield Hospital for further treatment."

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