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Fire sounded 'like stones hitting roof'

PUBLISHED: 12:03 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:25 03 July 2010

(DOMINIC BAREHAM) with Dom pics



dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk



RESIDENTS awoke to a sound similar to stones hitting their roof to find a raging inferno happening at a vehicle workshop behind their home, with flames shooting some 12ft above the building's roof.

(DOMINIC BAREHAM) with Dom pics

dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk

RESIDENTS awoke to a sound similar to stones hitting their roof to find a raging inferno happening at a vehicle workshop behind their home, with flames shooting some 12ft above the building's roof.

Glenda Winn, of Havelock Road, Great Yarmouth was woken by her husband Brian, 64, during the early hours this morning after he heard loud bangs which he described as like pebbles being thrown at the roof of their terraced home.

But the couple were shocked to open the curtains to discover the fire ripping through the workshop and flat before spreading to the roof of a neighbouring house at 2.45am.

She said: “My husband thought he heard some noises out there. He thought he heard people out there beforehand. He thought someone was throwing stones. There were loud bangs and platters like someone was throwing stones at the roof.”

She added: “We could smell the plastic and stuff coming from the workshop. I just told my husband to get away from the window, shut the curtains and pull the blinds down.”

Although Mrs Winn rang the fire brigade, she believed her neighbours had already done so as fire engines arrived seconds after she had woken up and made her call.

Minutes later police knocked on the couple's door to tell them they had to be evacuated. After spending some time chatting to neighbours in their street, they eventually went to the Marina Centre on the seafront where they joined the other 118 evacuees.

Mrs Winn said she could see sparks from the fire above the rooftops as they stood in the street.

They stayed in the centre's Piazza where they were treated to teas, while the two or three children at the centre received squashes as refreshment. Mrs Winn said the evacuees were in good spirits.

Pole Peter Tondryk, also of Havelock Road, was asleep with his wife Sylvia when the incident happened and remembered hearing somebody shouting 'help' behind their property, which also backs onto Albert Road.

Guests at hotels in Nelson Road South and Queen's Road, including Southern Hotel and Taunton House, were also evacuated during the incident along with the Havelock Road residents.

Eric Cooper, a guest at Taunton House, had an early breakfast with the hotel's manager Graham Law at Ivy's Café in Southgates Road shortly after leaving the Marina Centre at 7.15am.

The engineer from Whitby said: “The evacuation was carried out in quite a slick fashion, but there were a couple of bits that I thought weren't quite right. There was a lack of information and there was no ambulance here to treat people.”

Fire investigators were on scene this morning, looking into the cause of the fire were on-going this morning, but the evacuation was carried out because of concerns over a number of oxy acetylene gas cylinders at the workshop.

No injuries were reported.


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