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Fire damages family home

PUBLISHED: 07:43 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:26 02 July 2010

The fire in Lancaster Close, Old Catton

The fire in Lancaster Close, Old Catton

Jon Welch

A family home has been left uninhabitable after a fierce blaze tore through it.

Up to 35 firefighters tackled the blaze in a bungalow at Lancaster Close, Old Catton, near Norwich, at its height yesterday afternoon.

A family home has been left uninhabitable after a fierce blaze tore through it.

Up to 35 firefighters tackled the blaze in a bungalow at Lancaster Close, Old Catton, near Norwich, at its height yesterday afternoon.

They were called at 2.15pm after a fire was reported in the kitchen.

Firefighters from Sprowston, Norwich and two crews from Earlham attended the blaze in the quite cul-de-sac, and were later reinforced by crews from Hethersett, Aylsham and Acle.

They used breathing apparatus, hose-reel jets and main jets to tackle the fire.

No one was in the house when the fire broke out, but a cat was rescued, given oxygen therapy and taken to a vet.

Firefighters contained the blaze and neighbouring houses did not need to be evacuated.

Station manager Phil Berry, incident commander, speaking at the scene, said: “The initial call was to a kitchen fire, but on arrival we found it had developed from the kitchen to roof space and we needed additional resources.

“We have been using six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform.”

Mr Berry said the nature of the blaze meant firefighters could not get into the loft space to fight the flames.

He added: “We have got a safe working platform and are now working above the fire. We're now stripping the roof and revealing it. It's quite hungry in terms of the amount of breathing apparatus we're needing to use.

“We've been making really good progress and the firefighters have done a really good job.”

The police, ambulance service, EDF Energy engineers and a building surveyor were also called to the scene.

“This is quite a large incident and demonstrates how many agencies come together at these times,” said Mr Berry.

He said an investigation into the cause of the fire would be carried out.

The owners of the house were said to be to upset to speak.

Neighbour Tony Hilliam, 53, fleet manager for Norfolk Fire Service, received a phone call from colleagues telling him a house on his street was on fire.

“They were concerned it might have been mine,” he said.

Mr Hilliam returned home and while he was relieved the fire was not in his house, he said he a great deal of sympathy for his neighbours.

“It's devastating. This is a very close-knit community. We're not in each other's handbags, but we help each other out,” he said.

“I've offered my support and help. The main thing is nobody was in there and there was no risk to life and limb.”

Terry Raven, 62, an antiques dealer, lives next to the damaged bungalow. He said: “I came back about 3.30pm and there was a lot of activity in the street. There was a lot of smoke drifting across our garden.

“It was a bit surreal, but I'm relieved everyone is OK.”

Have the emergency services helped you? Contact jon.welch@archant.co.uk or telephone 01603 772476.

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