Blaze guts historic site
Laura Bagshaw A FORMER cemetery chapel was gutted by a fierce fire this week. It is believed arsonists were behind the blaze in the Kitchener Road Cemetery in Great Yarmouth, which took firefighters more than an hour to put out.
A FORMER cemetery chapel was gutted by a fierce fire this week.
It is believed arsonists were behind the blaze in the Kitchener Road Cemetery in Great Yarmouth, which took firefighters more than an hour to put out.
The 133-year-old chapel was being used as a storage unit by GYB Services for gardening and maintenance equipment.
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Four fire engines were sent to the scene on Monday just after midnight. By the time firefighters reached
the chapel it was well alight.
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Crews battled the blaze using four main water jets for more than an hour, but by 1.40am the fire had been put out.
Firefighters returned hours later at 8am and again at 3pm on the Tuesday to check the building, which had been severely damaged by the fire.
Hundreds of pounds worth of gardening equipment, including a sit-on lawnmower, was also lost in the fire.
The chapel is one of two in the cemetery and, although the buildings are considered to be of historical interest, they are not listed.
Borough council regeneration officer Darren Barker said: “By 1901 the cemetery only had enough space left for two more months of burials and that is when Caister cemetery was opened.
“At that time it was proposed to demolish the southern chapel to create more burial space, but that was rejected because it was not seen as a long-term solution.”
The chapels were built in 1875, one for non-conformists and the other for the Church of England.
Mr Barker said the council's conservation department would try to rebuild and repair the chapel.
“The fire service has advised that the building is demolished but as a conservation section we will try to resist that.”
Fire investigators said the blaze had been started deliberately and police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
> Anyone with information should contact Sgt Caroline Adams at Yarmouth police station on 0845 456 4567.