Homes destroyed and wildlife killed in Norfolk as fires spread

 Friday, July 22, 2022 


Homes have been destroyed after fires broke out across Norfolk on the hottest day of the year. Norfolk Fire Service declared a major incident and dealt with more than 100 incidents on Tuesday.

Five homes are thought to have been destroyed in Brancaster Staithe and people were also evacuated from properties in Poringland and Ashill.

Wild Ken Hill said an unknown amount of wildlife had been killed in a fire on the reserve.

Keith Gant’s home for 30 years in Ashmanhaugh, close to Wroxham, has been destroyed.

He said a fire started in a field behind the house and then spread “like a bush fire” into his semi-detached home.

He has made plans to stay with his brother-in-law but said he would need to find somewhere else to live.

In Poringland, many homes were left as charred remains, with several people now homeless.

Shirley Todd said her 80-year-old sister’s home was destroyed and she had “lost everything”. She was told to get out by the police, as she had her curtains closed and was left in “shock”.

Lisa Gooderham said she was fortunate her home had not been affected and praised the “fabulous” fire crews.

She has lost all her chickens and said there was “nothing left” of her chicken pen.

Tom De Winton, chairman of Brancaster Parish Council, said fire spread quickly in Brancaster Staithe after starting in a garden area at about 17:00 BST.

Five homes were burnt but four homes were ex-council houses and were due to be demolished, he said.

Fire crews then spent “the best part of five hours to stabilise the situation”, he added.

Mr De Winton said up to 25 people required overnight accommodation, organised locally by volunteers.

Homes were also lost in Ashill, close to Swaffham, and Ashill Primary School remains closed.

Head teacher Steve Creasey said that this is following a devastating fire that swept through the village on Tuesday evening, which has affected so many of their families and staff.

Greg Preston, from Norfolk Fire Service, attended the incident in Ashill and said it had been a “very challenging” time.

Field fires and wild fires had spread across the county and the service had to call in support from Merseyside and Avon as well as calling in people on annual leave, he said.

Mr Preston said homes were evacuated and a rest and support centre was set up.

He warned that the worst was “by no means over”, and asked everyone to be as safe and careful as possible to prevent fires.

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