North Pickenham warehouse fire 'seen for miles'

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Media captionThree gas cylinders used to supply fork-lift trucks exploded in the "major" fire

A "major" warehouse blaze in Norfolk created three explosions and plumes of smoke that could be seen more than 20 miles away.

The fire broke out at the 45,000 sq ft unit, owned by family hauliers E and S J Walpole Ltd, in North Pickenham, about 11:00 GMT.

The blaze caused "major structural collapse" but "everybody got out of the building", the fire service said.

Crew are expected to remain on site well into the night.

Due to high levels of smoke people living in the area off South Pickenham Road are being advised to keep windows closed and stay indoors.

'Loud explosions'

Nigel Williams, Norfolk's chief fire officer, said: "When we arrived it was a major fire that was progressing through the building.

Image copyright John Blackburne
Image caption People are being advised to shut their windows because of the smoke from the fire

"We do know some fork lift trucks that are powered by propane cylinders were involved in the fire... and as the fire progressed the cylinders have ruptured.

"We heard three quite loud explosions, but they've been contained within the building."

A BBC cameraman said plumes of smoke from the blaze could be seen more than 20 miles away.

Image copyright @AbelHomes
Image caption Smoke from the fire can be seen more than 20 miles away, it is reported

A fire service spokesman declined to comment if firefighters at the scene had been involved in strike action.

The Fire Brigades Union started their strike at 18:00 on Friday in a dispute over changes to the national pension scheme.

The industrial action will continue until 18:00 on Tuesday.

Image copyright @131_smith
Image caption E and S J Walpole Ltd have operated in the haulage and storage business for more than 30 years

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