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Neighbour hailed for saving Norwich gallery

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:42 02 July 2010

The Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road after a fire.

The Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road after a fire.

David Bale

The owner of a popular Norwich art gallery today thanked a neighbour who helped prevent a fire from devastating his business.

The owner of a popular Norwich art gallery today thanked a neighbour who helped prevent a fire from devastating his business.

The Grapevine art gallery reopened on time yesterday, despite fire-fighters spending the previous evening putting out a blaze in the roof.

Five fire crews were sent to the blaze at the gallery, next to the Rose Valley Tavern pub, in Unthank Road, just after 8pm on Monday.

Lorenzo Labella, the son of the owner of the Subway sandwich shop next-door, called the fire service after spotting smoke coming from the roof of the gallery and crews from Norwich, Earlham, Sprowston and Loddon went to the scene, along with the aerial platform ladder from Earlham.

The gallery's owner Peter Low opened the shop on time at 10am yesterday and thanked Mr Labella and Norfolk Fire Rescue and Service for their help.

He said: “The fire service did an excellent job and we were able to open on time the next day.

“I also would like to thank Mr Labella, without whose help I don't know what would have happened.

“It's too early to say how much damage was caused to the roof and what the costs will be, or what caused the fire, but we will be staying open. No damage was caused to any of the art.

“Several of our customers also came around on Monday night to see if they could help, so it shows people do care.”

The Grapevine gallery, which also has a gallery in Burnham Market, north Norfolk, was not open when the fire broke out.

It promotes the work of local artists with changing exhibitions and also sells jewellery, prints, furniture, textiles and ceramics.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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