Residents living near Downham Market Fire Station speak of burning debris

Flames rise out of Downham Fire Station. This picture was takne by Downham councillor Kathy Mellish
Flames rise out of Downham Fire Station. This picture was takne by Downham councillor Kathy Mellish
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Downham residents were evacuated from their homes after being woken by explosions within the town’s burning fire station.

People living in Ryston Close have spoken of the burning debris flying over their houses and covering their gardens during the early hours of this morning.

Stephen Collins and his partner Kathy Mellish heard loud bangs coming from the station during the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, March 11).

Mr Collins said: “We looked out of the window and saw flames coming out of the roller shutter doors at the front. Then a few moments later there was bang on the front door and the police were asking us to leave as quickly as possible.

“We went to stand on the corner and there was a big crowd of people. Some people had heard the explosion in Park Lane.

“At one point the police were worried that the fire was going to spread onto their cars.

“The sky was alight with debris coming off the roof and blowing over the houses going towards Denver.

“The fire accelerated so quickly and it was ferocious. You don’t expect that sort of thing to happen.”

Mr Collins said they were able to go back to their homes by 3am and were warned about picking up some of the debris as it could be the remains of breathing apparatus tanks.

He said: “I think they should reconsider having a fire station in a residential area. These things happen occasionally when they are looking to rebuild the station possibly they should put it into an industrial estate.”

Another neighbour Dick Abbs was woken about 12.10am by the first explosion and could see the fire through the roller doors.

He said: “There was another explosion and the fire picked up very rapidly.

“Then all of a sudden, debris was coming off the station and landing on the flat roof of my garage. I had to hose it down to prevent it catching alight. The garage is ok but it wouldn’t have been if I had left it.”