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Staff evacuated after fire at County Hall in Norwich

The evacuation at County Hall
Picture: Contributed

The evacuation at County Hall Picture: Contributed

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Three people had to be treated for smoke inhalation after a fire at County Hall in Norwich.

Richard Dromey, Norfolk Fire and Rescue's district manager for Norwich, at County Hall. Picture: Stuart AndersonRichard Dromey, Norfolk Fire and Rescue's district manager for Norwich, at County Hall. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the government building on Martineau Lane due to the blaze, which started at around 10am today (Friday, April 28).

Four fire engines from Carrow, Earlham, Sprowston and Wroxham stations, as well as an aerial platform, were called to the building.

Richard Dromey, fire and rescue’s district manager for Norwich, said it “was a small fire in the lower ground floor” of the multi-storey building.

Mr Dromey said: “The fire was located in the battery room of the computer suite.

Fire engines at County Hall. Picture: Stuart AndersonFire engines at County Hall. Picture: Stuart Anderson

“We committed two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and they extinguished the fire using dry powder extinguishers.

“We also charged the dry riser system in case the fire spread, but it didn’t and was extinguished quite quickly. Because there was smoke in the corridor the building had to be evacuated.”

A spokesman from the East of England Ambulance Service said: “An ambulance crew attended and assessed three patients at the scene with minor smoke inhalation.

“However, no one required transport to hospital.”

County Hall was declared safe at around 10.40am and workers started returning inside.

The council pleaded for people not to call them unless there was an emergency, following the fire and suspected power surge.

And Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council, said: “The incident occurred due to a suspected power surge which caused a small electrical fire and brought down several operational systems.

“We temporarily evacuated County Hall as a precaution, while Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service made sure the building was safe.

“Our robust business continuity plans were implemented immediately and we have been able to maintain vital services throughout the day.

“I’d like to thank staff for working hard to minimise disruption to the public and a special thanks to those who are giving up their Bank Holiday weekends to ensure we’re fully operational as soon as possible.

“I’d like to apologise to anyone who experiences disruption as a result of this incident and thank residents for bearing with us while we make the necessary repairs.”

The council said the usual emergency telephone numbers will be in effect as normal throughout the weekend, while registrar services and museums continue to operate as normal.

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