Norfolk

Fakenham fire: Electrics blamed for Aldiss market place blaze

Fakenham fire Image copyright Sarah Wright
Image caption The fire began at about 10:15 BST in Fakenham town centre

A severe fire which destroyed an historic town centre building and took around 100 firefighters to tackle, was probably caused by faulty electrics.

Crews were called to the Aldiss building in Fakenham Market Square, Norfolk, on 25 May.

Neighbouring properties were badly damaged in the blaze which is thought to have been caused by a faulty light fitting, Norfolk Fire Service said.

Tim Summers, Aldiss company secretary, called the fire "devastating".

The former Aldiss furniture and fashion store was built in the early 1900s.

Image copyright Andy Hogan
Image caption The fire spread to a nearby parked car
Image copyright Arnold Pistorius
Image caption The historic Georgian-style centre of Fakenham was ravaged by the fire

Norfolk Fire Service said its investigation had finished, saying the blaze most likely started in a light fitting in the suspended ceiling on the ground floor.

The Original Factory Shop, which leased the building at the time of the fire, has since relocated to an industrial estate in the town. The Aldiss shop moved to a different site in the 1990s.

The neighbouring properties have almost been fully repaired.

Mr Summers, who is managing the site's redevelopment for the Aldiss family, said a feasibility study was currently being carried out with architects.

Image copyright Aldiss
Image caption The Aldiss building in the 1960s...
Image copyright Aldiss
Image caption ...compared to the early 2000s...
Image caption ...compared to December 2014

He said it is hoped the new building will reflect its original Georgian look, with plans being submitted in the new year.

"The original facade could not be saved, but the new one will be in keeping with the market place", he said.

"It was an iconic building for the town, close to the family's heart. The fire was devastating at the time, but we're now keen to get the town back to where it was before it happened".

Some pieces of the original facade have since been displayed in the town's museum.

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption The town centre with the landmark Aldiss building in white before the fire struck
Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption The same scene after the fire

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