Part of Lynn’s town centre was cordoned off on Tuesday as firefighters rescued casualties following a roof collapse at the Majestic cinema.
But, instead of a race against time to save lives, this was a training exercise for the town’s firefighters to practise what they would have to do in the event of such an emergency.
Members of the White Watch crew took part in the exercise and their manager, Paul Edwards, thanked the cinema for their support.
He said: “We very rarely get the chance to train off station. Without their co-operation, we couldn’t have done so.”
The exercise was arranged to test the crew’s procedures for how they would search a building following a ceiling collapse and rescue casualties, in this case dummies, that are trapped inside.
The scenario follows a similar incident at a theatre in London in December 2013, in which 76 people were hurt, seven of them seriously.
Crews tend to take part in training exercises of this kind once or twice a year and Mr Edwards said it was vital they are prepared for any scenario.
He said: “We don’t get that type of emergency very much, but you can never tell.”
The exercise was one of two undertaken by the crew during the day, as they later went to the Custom House to practise the use of their aerial ladder platform.
Mr Edwards said the activity was partly to help staff in the tourist information centre, which occupies the ground floor of the building, who cannot safely access the flagpole on top of the building.
He added: “We can train on the platform on station, but it’s flat ground and it’s good for us to get off station and the roof at the Custom House is a bit tricky.”