People living and working close to a blaze which tore through two Norwich flats have spoken of their fear.

Fire and police officers remain on the scene at the two homes above the Total E-Cig Vape Cafe and Aquarius hair salon in Colman Road in the city's Earlham area, which caught fire last night at about 8.30pm leaving the building's roof gutted.

Firefighters are currently using a hydraulic lift at the Bunnett Square parade of shops to assess the damage and find out whether it is safe to lift the police cordon which has surrounded the site from the vape shop to the China Garden takeaway.

Norwich Evening News: Fire crews above the Colman Road vape shopFire crews above the Colman Road vape shop (Image: Newsquest)

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A police officer at the scene said they did not think anyone had suffered serious injuries in the incident.

He said: "We've had a fire last night which has spread across two flats.

"Fire crews are currently assessing the scene to see if it is ok to remove the cordon.

"At the moment our only concern is whether the chimney is stable because the roof has collapsed around it."

Norwich Evening News: PACT Animal Sanctuary charity shop is in the parade of shops which caught lightPACT Animal Sanctuary charity shop is in the parade of shops which caught light (Image: Newsquest)

Linda Kightley, who works in the PACT Animal Sanctuary charity shop in the road and lives nearby, said she was walking back to her home last night when she began to smell smoke.

She said: "You could smell it from miles off, then when I got to the bottom of Colman Road I could just see smoke.

"You couldn't see anything else it covered the area, I heard a big bang as well it was like a gun had gone off, then it all spread so quickly, I was glad the fire brigade got here quickly.

Norwich Evening News: The fire which broke out last nightThe fire which broke out last night (Image: Newsquest)

"The way it went so fast was quite scary.

"I went in the Co-Op to keep out of the way until my daughter got here and then we went for a walk up Colman Road as we couldn't get to my home.

"Police didn't like people walking up the road because it was so dangerous."

During the incident those living nearby were evacuated from their homes until police allowed them to return at midnight.

Norwich Evening News: Total E-Cig in Colman RoadTotal E-Cig in Colman Road (Image: Newsquest)

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Colman Road was closed from the vape shop to the junction with The Avenues last night but reopened this morning.

It is thought fire crews smashed into the vape shop via its rear in an attempt to stop the blaze from spreading to the flammable liquids below.

Staff at the Co-Op supermarket opposite said they did not see or hear the incident start and were only made aware of it when a member of staff came into start their shift and mentioned it.

Norwich Evening News: The fire has left the roof guttedThe fire has left the roof gutted (Image: Newsquest)

The shop's manager said: "God knows what would've happened if it had reached the shop.

"I was worried it would spread to the tree and come across the road to us.

"Thankfully most of those flats are empty but I saw the two people who live in the ones that were on fire when I left the shop at 10pm."

They said crews were still damping down the blaze at 6am this morning.

UK Power Networks are currently at the scene making it safe along with a police van and two fire engines.

It is not known what caused the blaze at this time.