Norfolk

Great Yarmouth fire: Blaze may have started in freezer

Gutted building on Regent Road
Image caption Fire officers believe the blaze was not started deliberately

The owner of Great Yarmouth's indoor market has said the fire which destroyed the building may have started in an ice cream freezer.

An investigation into the seven-hour blaze at the Regent Superbowl and the indoor market on Friday is ongoing.

Fire investigators have confirmed it started through an electrical circuit or item.

Phil Thompson, who has run the market for four years, said it was a "relief" to know it was not started on purpose.

Image caption The landlord of the indoor market said the blaze which ripped through the building may have started in an ice cream freezer.
Image caption Phil Thompson, owner of the market, said it was a 'relief' to know it was not started deliberately.

He said: "You're thinking the worst of everything, someone getting in and doing something but obviously that's not the case which is lovely, absolutely brilliant.

"But for a freezer to cause this devastation is absolutely terrible."

Mr Thompson said the ice cream freezer was on the first floor of the bowling alley.

He said CCTV footage shows the appliance going up in flames - but a spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue service said the findings of the investigation were yet to be confirmed.

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Media captionAerial pictures show the aftermath of the fire at Regent Superbowl, Great Yarmouth
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Media captionA large fire engulfs the attraction in Great Yarmouth
Image caption The building was fully engulfed by fire

The blaze left 42 businesses at the indoor market homeless.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is hosting a drop-in sessions on Thursday to hear what the traders need to operate.

Councillor Penny Carpenter, deputy leader of the council, said: "As a council we need to speak to the traders personally on a one-to-one to see exactly what their requirements are going to be and how we can assist them."

She said the council had been in contact with the liquidators of the BHS store to see if the newly-vacated property could be used as temporary premises.

Image caption The building was fully engulfed by fire

At the blaze's height, the pillar of smoke billowing from the country's oldest working bowling alley could be seen up to 11 miles away.

Eighty firefighters worked to tackle it and spent hours damping down.

It is thought it could cost £1m to clear the site.

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Media captionFlames completely destroy the Regent Superbowl complex

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