Rackheath blast business left in limbo

A company has been left in limbo as it waits to see how long it will take for it to resume normal business following a massive explosion at the Rackeath Industrial Estate.

The owner of piping suppliers Stratstan, which bore the brunt of the explosion at the neighbouring KC Caf�, expects the bill for the damage to run into tens of thousands of pounds.

It comes as investigators say they still cannot confirm the cause of the blast, which happened last Wednesday night. Stratstan owner Michael Tuffen said he and his 12 staff are waiting to see how long they have to wait until they can fully resume the business they have had at Rackheath for nearly 25 years, although they are still able to offer their clients a full service at present.

He said: 'We were told our burglar alarm was going off and when we turned up, much to our horror, we couldn't get near the place because there were police everywhere after the explosion.

'It's caused damage in the tens of thousands of pounds for us; we can't really quantify it yet. It could be more than that. It is a hell of a lot, that is for sure.

'We are going to have to move most of our stock and rent a different premises, but that depends on when the building is secure to do so. We haven't been given a timescale for when the investigations will be complete so it could be six weeks or it could be six months.'

The explosion was caused by a suspected gas leak, but officers from Broadland District Council and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are still working to confirm this.

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The council's environmental health team is the lead agency in trying to find out why the explosion happened, and has secured evidence at the scene which will be sent for forensic examination.

Broadland council's environmental enforcement manager, Paul Hemnell, said: 'We have been working closely with all the parties involved in this incident, including the fire service and police. We have also taken advice from colleagues at the Health and Safety Executive, as well as engaging the services of a specialist health and safety gas engineering expert.

'We would also like to thank and praise individual businesses and contractors for their help and co-operation. Our wide-ranging investigation into the cause of this explosion is continuing.'

Has your company been badly effected by the explosion at Rackheath? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or on email at david.freezer@archant.co.uk