'Fire coming from every window': home gutted by fierce blaze
PUBLISHED: 08:34 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 31 December 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A rural home has been gutted by a devastating blaze which tore through it in the early hours.
Six fire crews were sent to battle the fire at a property on The Moor, in Reepham, just after 1.30am on Monday, December 30.
A water carrier from Fakenham and aerial ladder platform from Great Yarmouth were also mobilised.
Firefighters - led by Reepham fire crew - toiled for around 11 hours to gain control, before finally being stood down at 12.23pm.
No one was inside the house at the time of the blaze and an investigation to establish the cause is under way.
Perry Smith, watch manager at Reepham fire station, explained the scale of the task faced by firefighters following their arrival.
The 47-year-old said: "When we arrived we encountered a fully developed fire on the first floor of the property, and the ground floor was nearly fully engulfed as well.
"With fire coming from every window, you know putting it out is going to be a difficult challenge. Any fire in an old building such as this, as fully developed as it was, is always going to be challenging - especially with the building being so unstable.
"We don't know how it started," he added. "There's an investigation taking place at this very minute which will probably continue over the next few days."
On Monday afternoon firefighters from Reepham remained at The Moor, using a thermal image camera to detect hot spots and continuing to dampen down using hose reel jets.
A police forensics team was at the scene working alongside Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service as their investigation began.
Former firefighter Phillip Leeder, who worked at Reepham station for seven years, said he saw the fire after hearing sirens at 2.30am and venturing outside.
He added it looked like the house had been completely destroyed.
"There was a lot of smoke and there were flames at the back of the house," said Mr Leeder.
"It looked like the roof had completely gone, as well as the two chimney stacks. It doesn't look like you can go into the building at all.
"As a former firefighter who worked for 37 years, the loss of home is always tragic and it still hits home for me."