Dereham business counting the costs of devastating blaze
PUBLISHED: 16:17 12 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:30 13 October 2019
The owners of a Dereham business are coming to terms with the impact of a devastating blaze which has left one person injured.
Six fire crews, as well as additional support from across the county, were called to Randells Garden Machinery in Toftwood just after 3pm on Friday.
Residents reported hearing "a loud bang" before seeing large plumes of smoke emerge from the nearby premises.
Firefighters spent several hours battling the worst of the flames and remained at the scene, off Shipdham Road, overnight and into the morning.
One member of staff from Randells was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with burns, but the full extent of their injuries is unknown.
This morning the owners of the business returned to the site, counting the costs of a fire which has destroyed a number of buildings and costly machinery including several lawnmowers.
A fire investigation is due to take place over the coming hours in an attempt to establish the cause.
The fire service was first alerted to the to the blaze at 3.09pm, before sending its first appliance at 3.13pm and arriving at Randells four minutes later.
People living on Shipdham Road between Randells and the junction with Holland Court had initially been advised to evacuate their homes as a precaution.
They were later told by firefighters and police officers that it is safe to return, on the proviso they retreat inside immediately and shut all doors and windows.
Police blocked Shipdham Road at the junction with Hillcrest Avenue in Toftwood, and set up a second cordon at the junction with Holland Court.
The A1075 was closed between Shipdham and Toftwood for several hours.
Daisy Smith, who lives on Hillcrest Avenue, was startled when she first saw the huge plumes of smoke.
"I was just sitting at home and I looked up to see these massive clouds of black smoke," said Miss Smith. "I really freaked out at first and called my family telling them to look outside.
"After that I just heard loads of sirens. I've never known anything like this to happen in Toftwood and I just hope whoever's involved is alright."