Electrical fault likely to have sparked Downham Market fire station blaze, says report

Fire Investigators at Downham Market Fire Station ANL-140313-140201001
Fire Investigators at Downham Market Fire Station ANL-140313-140201001
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An electrical fault may have sparked a devastating blaze which destroyed Downham’s Fire Station, according to investigators.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue, assisted by colleagues from the Cambridgeshire brigade, have been looking into the blaze, which happened in the early hours of March 11 last year.

Major fire at Downham Fire Station UGC ANL-140313-103228001

Major fire at Downham Fire Station UGC ANL-140313-103228001

A new report has now concluded the likely cause was an electrical fault with one of the stations’s appliances, though the results of the 
forensic report are still 

Since the blaze the town’s firefighters have been sharing the nearby police station, in a move that officials hope will be made permanent.

A fire service spokesman said yesterday: “The investigation into the fire at Downham Fire Station has been long and complex.

“Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has received the independent report from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“The findings reveal that it is believed the cause of the fire was due to an electrical fault in one of the appliances.

“However, we are waiting to receive the full forensic report from the forensic investigators.

“With regards to the future of the fire station, we are in discussion with Norfolk 
Constabulary to consider options for a joint location at the site with shared accommodation.

“We currently have temporary accommodation in place and the station is fully operational from this location.”

Firefighters from Downham received a call to a building fire at 12.30am on March 11, 2014, but did not realise it was their station until turning the corner.

Flames ravaged the seven-year-old retained station, which did not have a sprinkler system fitted, and its 18-month-old applicance .

A series of explosions sent flames soaring through the roof and homes surrounding the burning building were evacuated.

Tanks of oxygen, used by officers in fires and on medical call-outs, were stored at the site along with a engine for a rescue raft, which had been delivered several weeks before and was unused.

Firefighters from Lynn, Methwold, Swaffham and Terrington St Clement, along with colleagues from the Littleport and Wisbech stations in Cambridgeshire, were called in to tackle the flames.

They were supported by a water carrier from Fakenham and the control unit from Wymondham.

Debris from the building such as insulation and the remains of oxygen tanks, were blown away by the wind.

Within hours of the blaze, a new fire engine had been delivered to the station to ensure fire cover.

The retained crew of firefighters have been using the former cells at the town’s police station since the devastating blaze.

But it is hoped that the site of the old fire station building will ultimately make way for additional garage space at the police station, which will be redesigned to accommodate both services.