Great Yarmouth residents evacuate homes as former care home hit by fire

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

Homes were evacuated after fire took hold in the former Abbeville Lodge care home in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday June 2, 2021. - Credit: Ines Diaz

Families were woken in the early hours and forced out onto the street with their young children and pets as a blaze raged at a former care home.

Abbeville Lodge in Acle New Road, Great Yarmouth,  closed in 2019 and has since seen a string of fires prompting urgent calls for something to be done.

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

Near neighbours are raising concerns about the alarming number of fires at the former Abbeville care home in Acle New Road. - Credit: Liz Coates

In the early hours of Wednesday (June 2) 40 firefighters from seven crews spent the hours before daylight battling the fire at the back of the site close to a terrace of homes.

Nicola Davis described how her husband Trevor was watching a movie when he heard "bangs and popping" outside. Seeing the flames, he moved the family car which was parked metres from where the blaze had taken hold.

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

The former Abbeville Lodge site is at the main A47 gateway entrance to Great Yarmouth along Acle New Road. A string of fires at the derelict site is worrying residents. - Credit: Liz Coates

The couple, including their two young daughters and 13-year-old son, were evacuated along with the whole of School Road Back who stood wrapped in blankets at the end of the street for over an hour.

Mrs Davis said flames caught an overhanging tree close to her home of 15 years and almost reached power lines.

She said frustration and anger were mounting in the street at the lack of action to tackle the problem building which was being used by homeless people and older teens.

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

The back end at Abbeville Lodge on Acle New Road is completely burnt out. - Credit: Liz Coates


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"It was very scary," she said.

"The tree was alight and the car was there. It needs to be demolished."

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Meanwhile Ines Diaz said she was woken by a loud knock on the door at around 1.30am and had to gather up her two-year-old son and rush along the street to safety.

She said living so close to the derelict building meant living in fear and that her young son had been traumatised by the atmosphere of urgency and panic.

"It's a constant worry," she said.

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

Firefighters spent over four hours battling a blaze at Acle New Road on Wednesday June 2. - Credit: Ines Diaz

"You never know when you go to sleep if it could go up in flames. What's next? Will it take for somebody to get seriously hurt before something is done?"

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

People are calling for action after a string of fires at a derelict care home. Abbeville Lodge in Acle New Road has seen at least four fires since it shut. - Credit: Ines Diaz

The last major fire at the site was in April when residents said they wanted to move to escape the threat.

A scheme to demolish the care home and build fourteen three- storey houses with garaging on the ground floor was approved at the end of last year.

Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

Fencing and a tree were charred by flames threatening nearby homes after a former care home caught fire in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Liz Coates


Fire at Abbeville Lodge Acle New Road Great Yarmouth

The number of fires at a derelict care home in Great Yarmouth is prompting angry calls for something to be done. - Credit: Nicola Davis

Tim Edwards, assistant chief fire officer with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: "The fire was significant but crews battled hard and quickly gained control, reducing both the risk to the public and any damage to the surrounding environment.

"We will support the police-led investigation into this incident.”

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