Seven fire crews tackle fat frier blaze

Firefighters today said it was better to be safe than sorry after sending seven crews to a fire in a fat fryer at a picturesque Norfolk pub.

Firefighters today said it was better to be safe than sorry after sending seven crews to a fire in a fat fryer at a picturesque Norfolk pub.

Andy Lyle, area manager for Norwich and south Norfolk, said it was the fire service's policy to double the amount of pumps sent to deal with any blaze in a thatched property.

Crews from Diss, Wymondham, Long Stratton, Harleston and Thetford attended the fire at the Crown Inn, Pulham Market, at 12.30pm today. The fire did not reach the pub's thatched roof and was put out by 1pm.

Mr Lyle said: “We always send out two appliances to these sorts of incidents but as soon as we hear it's a thatched property we upgrade it to four, and also send a unit with all the salvage gear.

“Our priority is to get the roof off the property so that we can get to the part of the thatch on fire, but that means we will be spraying water directly into a home so we send in the salvage crew to retrieve possessions while we're cutting.

“What we say to those in thatched properties is be aware. Tell us straight away so we can send the right teams out. It's especially important to maintain your chimneys at this time of year, when people are lighting fires.”

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Mr Lyle said that it was not especially dangerous for people to be drinking in crowded thatched pubs as, while the material burns easily, fire spreads through it slowly.

“If pubs have a proper system of evacuating the premises there shouldn't be any risk,” he said. “The message is let us know it's thatched though, so we can send the appropriate response.”

About 1,000 thatched home owners in Norfolk were sent a free safety guide from the fire service in October. Last winter 12 thatched properties caught fire.