Folk in a city neighbourhood had a terrifying start to the day as a huge fire broke out in an outbuilding of a house and blanketed the area in thick smoke.

Four fire engines were called to the blaze near Eaton Park at 8.30am.

It is thought to have started in a garden building with an outdoor oil tank also catching light at the George Borrow Road home.

A man who suffered smoke inhalation and burns was taken via ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further care.

The fire left many in the surrounding homes fearful as the flames reached rooftop height.

UEA students Nick Tyler, 22, and Joshua Daplyn, 25, were awoken by a concerned neighbour who knocked on their door at around 8.30am to check if they were okay.

Norwich Evening News: Neighbour Joshua Daplyn saw the fireNeighbour Joshua Daplyn saw the fire (Image: Newsquest)

"The fire was huge," said Josh.

"What was quite so scary was that there was a pillar of flames that were going up to the height of the house."

Nick added: "There was so much smoke.

Norwich Evening News: Black smoke rising over houses near Eaton ParkBlack smoke rising over houses near Eaton Park (Image: Contributed)

"It was creating a kind of vortex and moving really, really quickly. 

"From my bedroom on the first floor I could see the flames going up to the height of the second floor of the house."

Josh's sister, Alexandra Daplyn, 23, reported being able to see and smell the smoke from a 15 -minute walk away from the street.

Norwich Evening News: Flames reached the height of a two-story buildingFlames reached the height of a two-story building (Image: Contributed)

Dot Leonard, 70, has lived in George Borrow Road for 12 years and has never seen anything like it happen before. 

"My husband saw the smoke and he thought it was us!" she said. 

"The flames were really high.

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"I was concerned for the man who lives there as I knew he was at home, and I knocked on his door and found him on the phone to the fire brigade."

Dot reported that some of the shopworkers from nearby Colman Road ran over to see if they could help after a huge fire devastated several of the shops along the street in September.

Norwich Evening News: The outbuilding was completely destroyed in the blazeThe outbuilding was completely destroyed in the blaze (Image: Newsquest)

Firefighters had put out the flames by around 9.15am, using hose reel jets and hand appliances, with neighbours praising the speed of their response. 

However, the outbuildings are understood to have suffered significant damage from the blaze.

Most of the grass in the garden also appears to have been burned away but the fire was contained to the garden of the one property.