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‘The explosion shook the house, the flames were sky high’ - Blaze tears through Norfolk farm building

PUBLISHED: 08:39 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 30 January 2018

Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt

Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Carol Woodcock was at her home on Park Lane in Scarning when she heard the first small explosions and thought they were fireworks.

A fire engine leaving the scene of the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt A fire engine leaving the scene of the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt

When she went outside to see what was happening at the adjoining Park Farm, she was confronted by thick black smoke pouring from an agricultural building and flames that were reaching high into the sky.

“I instantly turned and ran like hell back to the house to call the fire brigade,” she said.

“Then there was an explosion that shook our house – I don’t know what was in there but it was like a building full of fireworks.”

The blaze tore through the building on Park Lane in Scarning at around 2pm on Monday. When emergency services received the call from Mrs Woodcock, 12 fire engines were dispatched from across the county, along with a number of other support vehicles.

The aftermath of the fire in Scarning. Picture: Submitted The aftermath of the fire in Scarning. Picture: Submitted

Breckland police also responded and closed the road, warning people to avoid the area.

“I didn’t know whether to run or hide or what to do,” continued Mrs Woodcock. “It was really frightening. I’ve never seen so many fire engines in my life.”

Thick black smoke could be seen over a mile away with one resident describing the smoke as “bellowing out across the field” for more than two hours.

Mrs Woodcock’s husband, Stephen Woodcock, also witnessed the fire.

Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt

“Luckily the fire brigade managed to contain it before the flames reached the gas bottles,” he said.

“It was a horrendous blaze but it also could have been much worse if the wind was blowing in a different direction as there are more buildings that way.

“The firemen have been fantastic at getting it contained.”

Paul Seaman, group manager and collaboration lead for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said that no one had been injured and described the incident as “resource intensive”.

Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt Fire fighters walking down the road close to the fire at Scarning on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt

He said that when the crews arrived on site their priority was to protect the neighbouring buildings, which contained livestock and due to their efforts none were lost.

Mr Seaman also praised the 60 fire-fighters who had helped to contain the fire.

The fire crews are scaling back the number of crews on site but they expect to retain a presence there until around 7pm. The cause is not known at this time but an investigation is being carried out.

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