Eight fire crews fighting blaze as derelict care home is ‘engulfed in flames’
- Credit: David Chal
Eight crews of firefighters are battling a blaze at a derelict care home in Great Yarmouth - and have been on scene for several hours.
At around 6.30pm on Tuesday crews were called to the former Abbeville Lodge care home in the Sidegate Road area of the town to reports of a fire, with large plumes of smoke visible from the opposite side of the river.
Crews from Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Acle, Martham, Carrow, Wymondham, Loddon and Stalham plus the aerial ladder platform are on the scene, with smoke filling the air from the building.
A spokesman from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said it was “a very early stage” but eye witnesses have been able to smell the blaze from some distance away.
As of around 9pm several firefighters were still at the scene, with clouds of smoke still pouring out of the building, though the flames were considerably smaller by this stage.
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Neighbours were warned to keep their doors and windows closed while officers fought the blaze.
A man who lives nearby, who did not wish to be named, added that some people had gathered along the riverside to watch the scenes unfold.
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Another witness said the building was boarded up and “engulfed in flames” - and that firefighters were trying to gain access and extinguish the blaze using a hydraulic platform.
He said: “There were lots of blue lights. I live on Northgate Street the other side of the river and can see the smoke billowing over the buildings from there.”
A man who lives in nearby School Road said he went out into his garden for a cigarette and just could not believe the smell.
Police have put a cordon around the area, with some neighbours choosing to watch from the other side of the road.
A holiday-maker visiting the town from Hartlepool said he had spent around an hour watching the flames from the opposite side of Acle New Road.
The former care home has been closed since May 2019, after the Care Quality Commission found it to be inadequate in all areas.
It had recently been subject to a planning application to demolish it and replace it with a housing development of 16 homes.
As of 11.20pm, the eight crews had been scaled back to four, with a spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue saying there would likely continue to be an emergency service presence in the area throughout the night.