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40 firefighters tackle blaze at grand former base of Norfolk preparatory school

PUBLISHED: 08:54 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 04 June 2018

The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: NFRS

The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: NFRS

Archant

The grand former base of a Norfolk preparatory school went up in flames yesterday and 40 firefighters battled into the night to tackle the blaze.

Fire crews tackle a blaze at the derelict former Langley Preparatory School site at Thorpe House in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Geraldine Scott.Fire crews tackle a blaze at the derelict former Langley Preparatory School site at Thorpe House in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Geraldine Scott.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was called at around 9.30pm on Sunday to the former Langley Preparatory School building at Beech Hill off Yarmouth Road.

Four crews rushed to the scene and were expected to remain there overnight as they tackled the fire in the derelict building.

Langley moved off the site in July 2016 when the school merged with Taverham Hall Preparatory School at the latter’s 100 acre grounds in Taverham.

Last night Pete Rowe, station manager at Sprowston Fire Station, said they were using an aerial platform and were not sending any firefighters into the building as it was believed to be empty.

Fire crews tackle a blaze at the derelict former Langley Preparatory School site at Thorpe House in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Geraldine Scott.Fire crews tackle a blaze at the derelict former Langley Preparatory School site at Thorpe House in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Geraldine Scott.

He said: “We’re dealing with a relatively large fire in a derelict school, it looks as if there’s been a number of previous smaller fires too.

“Crews are going to be using defensive tactics and the aerial platform.”

Mr Rowe said he believed there had been people in and out of the building while it was empty, but that there was no one inside while the fire burned.

He also said the fire had been burning for some time.

The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: NFRS.The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: NFRS.

He said: “It’s not intense so it’s a very slow-burning fire.

“We’ve got quite a contained fire but it’s difficult to get to because we are not going in. I expect the crews to be here for a considerable amount of the night.”

He advised residents to keep their windows closed and that they would see and smell smoke, as well as lights from fire engines or from the blaze itself, but he reassured people not to worry.

There was also likely to be firefighters still on the scene this morning to ensure the fire was fully out.

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