Photo gallery and video: Scenes after a major fire rips through North Pickenham depot

The smouldering building remains of E & SJ Walpole near North Pickenham, after it was gutted by fire

The smouldering building remains of E & SJ Walpole near North Pickenham, after it was gutted by fire on Saturday 1st November. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A plume of smoke continued to billow over rural Breckland as a determined workforce strived to get back up and running.

Fire broke out at E & S J Walpole's North Pickenham depot at about 11am on Saturday, and at its height could be seen some 20 miles away from the site.

Yesterday the 40 firefighters who contained the blaze had long left the site but the warehouse's small team of five continued to work nearby the charred carcass.

Company bosses said the building, a former hangar on an old wartime US bomber base south of the A47, contained up to 4,000 pallets of cardboard plus other packaging materials.

They said the building was insured and that they were seeking temporary premises to continue their operations.

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Meanwhile, fire chiefs said it will take some time before the cause of the blaze is known.

Family-owned E & S J Walpole Ltd has been involved in the haulage and storage industry for more than 30 years. Its headquarters is in Dereham and its fleet also operates from Hockwold and Corby, Northants.

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Jason Snook, one of the operations managers for the firm, said it was 'sickening' to see the blaze. 'We're all in shock and trying to pick up the pieces.'

Ken Howsam, who has worked in the warehouse for more than 20 years, said: 'We will continue with what we can and try to sort out alternative arrangements.'

To see a video, go to this story on our website.

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