Walpole Cross Keys village hall hit by fire

Police are investigating the cause of a fire which has left a West Norfolk community temporarily without a village hall.

It was only the swift actions of a passer-by which saved the Jephson Hall at Walpole Cross Keys from being destroyed in the early hours of Wednesday morning. (30)

A fire spread from a hedge at the back of the hall, on Sutton Road, to a shed and then to a toilet block to the rear of the building. Flames were already heading into the roof when fire crews arrived and they were able to prevent further damage. They were at the scene for around two hours.

But the hall has to remain closed while insurers deal with the claim and repairs are carried-out to the toilet area.

A 70th birthday party planned for this weekend has had to be re-located and the popular weekly auctions, held on Wednesday evenings, have been temporarily moved to Tilney St Lawrence.

Hall committee treasurer Angela Warner said members were grateful to the sharp-eyed passer by who called the fire brigade around midnight.

'The fire started at the back and it's not easy to see from the road,' she said.

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Apart from the toilets having to be replaced the whole building will have to be cleaned because of smoke damage.

The hall was refurbished around six years ago and the new toilet block, including disabled facilities, was added.