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Downham Market


Address: Ryston Close, Downham Market, PE38 9BD

Drill Night: Wednesday

Incidents attended: Click here for incident information

This is a retained station.  It has a crew consisting of one Watch Manager and two Crew Managers and eight Firefighters.


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If you need a school visit we target these at Year 2 for Key Stage 1,  Year 5 for Key Stage 2 and Year 8 for Key Stage 3. If you have someone who is fire-setting and wish to discuss this with one of our advisors please contact us. We are sometimes also able to attend Community events but this will depend on resources, and we tend to target this to priority areas of our service. We do always look forward to hearing from you from you with any other queries.”



HRP Heavy Rescue Pump

29 July 2014 - Update:  

A project team has been initiated we are talking to our partner agencies (police and ambulance) about the redevelopment of the site.  We do not have any dates or firm plans at the moment, and will not be able to finalise these, until the insurance claim has been settled.


On 11 March 2014 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service responded to reports of a building fire in Downham Market.  This fire resulted in significant damage to the fire station on Ryston Close, Downham Market.  Resources from both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire assisted in successfully preventing the spread of fire to neighbouring properties although we were unable to prevent significant fire damage to both the Station and the fire appliance.  We recognise the importance of keeping local residents up to speed with development and what the future may look like for Downham Market Fire Station for this reason we have decided to create these frequently asked questions. We will update it when we have further information.
Frequently Asked Questions

Does this mean Downham Market is without fire cover? 
Fire cover was maintained all night and we implemented our business continuity plans. Downham Market had its own fire engine in place and on the run by 0930 the following morning. Moving appliances to ensure we have adequate cover is an everyday activity for our control room.  They manage the resources we have in order to make sure Norfolk has the best fire cover possible.  We have resilience pumps to ensure we have back up when we need it if an appliance has a fault as well as spare appliances so that maintenance and servicing can be programmed in.  This planning of servicing and maintenance ensures that we provide the county with a high quality appliance.  If, on another occasion, Downham were committed to a large incident other appliance/s could also be moved to the area.  

How can a fire start in a fire station? 
Fires are always a risk which is why we put so much effort into preventing them. The nature of fire is unpredictable and we devote a great deal of our time talking to individuals and business about how to keep their homes and business’s safe. Our primary concern is life safety and where fire does occur it is important that people can leave any premise safely and quickly.

What caused the fire?  How did it start?
This is one of the things the investigation will establish. A fire investigation team from the insurers together with colleagues from our neighbouring Fire Services will ensure that an independent investigation takes place.  Due to the extensive damage it is expected this will take some time.

Were the firefighters on station at the time of the fire?
Downham Market, and the majority of our other stations, are retained stations.  These are stations where the firefighters are on-call they have alerters that call them when there is an incident and they leave their homes/jobs and attend the station.  

Norfolk Police are saying the fire is not being treated as suspicious (so why are we investigating?) 
We need to ensure that if there are any lessons to be learned from the fire these can be understood.  We are also obliged by our insurers to look at the cause. 

What were the explosions that were heard? 
They were the compressed air cylinders that are used by our firefighters when wearing breathing apparatus. The likelihood is that the appliance’s tyres also exploded when the intensity of the fire reached them, any vessel with high pressure within it has the potential to explode when subjected to heat.  Although the explosions were  loud, the risk to the neighbouring properties was  minimal.

Are you insured? 
Value of fire? 
Early estimates suggest this to be about £1.5m to replace the fire station, its fixtures and fitting etc, plus the cost of the replacement fire appliance 

What's the cost of a replacement engine?
£250K including equipment.

Was there a sprinkler system in the fire station? 
The requirement to provide a sprinkler system in any building is limited and dependent on the scale or size of the development.  Therefore a fire station would not be required to have a sprinkler system by law, although we do promote the installation of sprinklers whenever possible.
As a Service we would always aim to provide sprinklers in our new developments and advocate the benefits of their installation in commercial and domestic properties.

The purpose of a sprinkler system is to control the fire and prevent the potential for spread.  The Service is reviewing the requirements for future sprinkler provision in all new build projects.  
Like any organisation, additional systems provided that are over and above any legal requirement has to be balanced with other financial priorities and it is on this basis that we will continue to evaluate the provision of sprinklers in our buildings.  The key issue is that even in the absence of a sprinkler system, the Service had a robust business continuity plan.

Were there smoke alarms in the fire station?
The building had a fire alarm system with smoke detection.  All Fire service premises in Norfolk have a fire alarm system fitted.

What message have you got for the local residents? 
Shortly after the incident took place firefighters provided advice and reassurance to residents living nearby about the loud bangs heard during the fire and any debris they may have found on their own properties.  
Fire cover has been in place throughout this incident and will be maintained.  We are doing this by working out of the Police Station in order to provide a Fire Service for Downham Market and the surrounding area.  Our partners Norfolk Property Services are working with us and our insurers to plan the rebuild.  At the present time we cannot say if this will be on the original site or whether we look to share premises with other emergency services.

What impact is it going to have on local services? 
So far there has been minimal impact on local services.  Our business continuity plans have been implemented and we had the local crew up and running in 9 hours, able to provide full fire cover, with the help of Norfolk Police who are allowing us to use their premises.  

What Government help is available?
There are funding opportunities for fire and rescue services towards joint blue light working. We plan to look at opportunities with colleagues from Norfolk Constabulary who are next door to our current site, and who have been very helpful, to see whether it might be possible to make an application in the future  to the DCLG. 

Looking forward
This process will inevitably take some time and we’d like to thank the local people, business and Councillors for their patience, support and well wishes in what has been quite a difficult time for all concerned.
We will be updating this page with information as we have more.  We will also post a link on our Twitter and Facebook to let you know that new information has been added.  We will also inform the local media.




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