Fire at Caister Lifeboat station 'could have cost lives'

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FlamesImage source, Caister Lifeboat
Image caption,
The fire was spotted by a crewman at about 22:00 on Thursday

A fire started deliberately at a lifeboat station "could have cost lives" said its chairman.

Paul Garrod said the fire was lit against the wall of Caister Lifeboat, Norfolk, between the inshore and all-weather vessels.

It happened at about 22:00 GMT on Thursday.

It was by "pure luck" a crewman, Colin Willavise, spotted it while looking for a missing dog, and managed to put it out.

"I saw three youths and said 'what do you think you're doing?'," said Mr Willavise.

"They saw me and ran off.

"If it had gone behind the cladding and gone up I dread to think what would have happened to our business."

Image source, Caister Lifeboat
Image caption,
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service attended to check the fire was out, Caister Lifeboat said

Mr Garrod said: "It's a mixture of disappointment and anger - another five to 10 minutes and we may be standing by smouldering building.

"We are very lucky indeed - it's just a bit of stupidity, a silly act and it could have cost lives."

Comments on the Caister Lifeboat Facebook page called it "absolutely despicable behaviour", one asked "how low can people sink?" and another said "let's hope the culprits would never need the equipment in that building to save their lives or the life of a loved one".

Image source, Caister Lifeboat Service
Image caption,
Caister lifeboats are launched by towing and shunting the vessels across the beach to the shore using tractors

The lifeboat station also thanked Norfolk Fire Service who arrived to ensure the fire had been put out properly.

It said Norfolk Police was investigating and would be checking CCTV footage.

The lifeboat station became an independent charity in 1969 after the RNLI stopped running a station in Caister, just to the north of Great Yarmouth.

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