Residents were evacuated from their homes and 20 vehicles were damaged when a fire broke out in a car repair centre.
Drama unfolded in North Lynn on Sunday afternoon when 50 firefighters from across West Norfolk were called to tackle the blaze at Bennett Accident Repair Centre in Hamburg Way at about 3pm.
Although fire crews were able to control the blaze, 16 homes on nearby Nuthall Crescent were evacuated as there were fears that four gas canisters on the garage site could explode at any moment threatening life and limb.
People living in the Somersby Close and Whisson Close area were also advised to stay indoors and away from their windows.
Yesterday Bennett’s staff were busy counting the cost, ringing insurers and car owners, as there were 16 customer cars and four courtesy cars inside the centre at the time.
Fire investigators were also on site yesterday morning to try and determine the cause.
A spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Sometimes they are able to find out what happened quite quickly, but this investigation may take some time as it was pretty badly damaged.”
The first person to see the drama unfold was Mat Barlow, who runs the A10 Auto Centre, opposite the car repair shop. He noticed smoke coming from Bennett’s doors and dialled 999.
Firefighters making up eight crews from Lynn, Sandringham, Terrington, Fakenham, Massingham and Wisbech attended the scene.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue service group manager Greg Preston said: “When the cars were on fire our concerns were for the gas canisters.
“Once we located them, the owner told us where they were, we have a strict procedure on how to cool them down.
“It also depends what kind of gas canisters they are – we could have been here a few hours or all night.”
The crews had the matter under control by 6pm and evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes.