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Address: Norwich Road, Thetford, IP24 2HT

Drill Night: Tuesday

Incidents attended: Click here for incident information

This Station is a day-crewed and retained station.  It has a crew whom are based on the station during the day consisting of one Watch Manager, one Crew Manager and six firefighters.  There is also a retained crew consisting of one Watch Manager, four Crew Manager and fifteen firefighters.  There is also Youth Development, Fire safety and admin staff based here and a Fire Cadets unit based here.

  Thetford Station

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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.”


Rescue Pump 2 x Rescue Pump

HVP High volume pump and hose layer

This section contains notes written by the crews of this station.

Thetford is a medium sized town in the Breckland area with a population of about 24,000, second only to Dereham. It is situated adjacent to the busy A11 trunk road between Norwich to the north and Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket to the South. Although set in a rural environment it has a varied range of employers from small starter business units to Multi-national companies employing hundreds of people. The forest is predominately to the west of the town and forms part of the East Anglia Forest District which covers approximately 25 000 hectares of land throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. In the time of Edward the Confessor (c.1002 – 1066) Thetford was one of the largest towns in England, with a population of between 4 000 and 5 000 people. It rivalled such places as Lincoln, Oxford and Norwich.

A brief history of the fire service in Thetford

The two most disastrous fires to have occurred during Thetford’s long history took place in 1004 and 1010 A.D., when it is recorded in The Anglo-Saxon chronicles that the Danish armies sacked and burnt the town. Thetford’s inhabitants could at best have fled for their lives, leaving their homes of timber, wattle, daub and thatch to burn. What fire prevention, if any, existed at Thetford in those early days is not known!

As early as A.D. 872 the City fathers of Oxford introduced the ringing of a bell at sunset to notify inhabitants to extinguish their fires. In the 11th century Thetford had many churches and the ringing of a church bell as a “Fire alarm” had been used until more recent times. Throughout the country, fire hooks or crooks for removing burning thatch from roofs, have for centuries past been kept in the parish churches.

After the arrival of the Normans, legislation was introduced, ordering that fires must be covered by a certain time each evening. Punishment for offenders against this legislation, known as the “Couvre-Fue”, was imposed. The word “curfew” now has a more sinister meaning.

After many centuries of ad-hoc provision for fire-fighting in the town it was not until 1880 (under the stewardship of the then Thetford Borough Council) that the first organised Fire Brigade for Thetford was formed. A subscription was raised from local people and businesses and this purchased a new fire engine (a hand pump – drawn by horses) and this was housed in the lower lever of the Guildhall (now rebuilt). Fire-fighters were recruited, 17 in all, and they were all volunteers. The youngest was 22 years and the oldest 56 years and their trades and professions were varied indeed. Amongst them were Labourers, Painters, Stonemasons, Blacksmiths and even Articled clerks and Solicitors. Uniforms were ordered from a local tailor at 2 guineas each. Boots at 1/9d (8p) pair from Mr. Howard a local boot maker. Helmets, belts, axes and lamps were also purchased, along with a number of other items.

In the latter part of 1899 due to the demolishment and rebuilding of the Guildhall, the Brigade moved its quarters into the premises of 10 White Hart Street, where the fire engines were housed under tarpaulins at the rear of the building. When the rebuilding work had finished the fire engines were re-housed in their new quarters in their previous position under the Guildhall, the entrance facing Cage Lane (The double doors to the left can still be seen today).

On the 1st April, 1948 Thetford Borough Fire Brigade came under the authority of the then recently formed Norfolk Fire Service. In the intervening years the original hand fire engine had been superseded by a steam fire engine (still horse drawn) and eventually a motorised fire engine manufactured by Dennis. The Fire station at Cage lane, cramped by narrow streets, was deemed inadequate and as funds became available building work commenced in 1952 at the present site on land between the Police Station and the then Lambert’s garage.

(Acknowledgements to “A History of the Borough of Thetford Fire Brigade” by David J. Osbourne)

Thetford Fire Station

In the ten year period between 1948 and 1958 Thetford fire-fighters attended an average of 60 incidents a year. For the period of 1958 to 1968 the average was 111 per year. By 1987 this had risen to 308 and by 2004 (our busiest year yet) it had risen to over 950. The reasons for these increases are complex, but amongst them are, an ever increasing population, increasing local investment and employment (more industrial premises) and a greater awareness by the public on the Fire and Rescue Services we provide.

Currently Thetford has 4 fire engines (now we call them appliances)  and they are, a Scania rescue pump, a Mercedes rescue pump and a six wheel M.A.N High Volume Pump (HVP). Also a six wheel M.A.N Hose Layer which has 2KM of hose on board. Along with the 1KM of hose stowed on the HVP, this provides the capability of providing water onto the fireground from a water supply 3KM away which is of great value for large Forestry, Heathland & Industrial Complex fires.  The HVP is of particular interest as following 9/11, the government funded the purchase of these vehicles and they are placed regionally throughout the country. Their purpose is to pump water at great volumes over large distances and could be used to supply water to extinguish a fire or to remove water from an area of intense flooding. The HVP and crews from Thetford were involved in the recent Buncefield fire.

To staff these appliances we have two groups of fire-fighters – Full Time and Part Time (Retained)

The Part time personnel (19 in total) are successors to the original volunteers of 1880 but they no longer respond to a ringing church bell! Technology is alive and well in Norfolk and a small pager suffices quite nicely. On an “alert” part time personnel are brought from their homes or places of work to the Fire Station where they respond in a Fire Appliance. Individually personnel provide various hours of cover during the week, both day and night.

The Full time personnel at Thetford did not come into existence until 1975 when originally it was a crew of 5. Currently there is an establishment of 8 and they provide cover from 0800 hours to 1730 Hours Monday to Thursday and  0800 hours to 1600 hours (that’s 4 o/clock pm to you and me) on a Friday. The benefits of having Full time personnel at Thetford have not been lost by the Brigade and apart from the hours these personnel are involved in training and routine equipment testing, much time is spent each week on Community engaged projects. Here follows just a few:-

Partnerships have been formed with Local organisations such as Surestart, Peddars Way, Norfolk Police, Keystone Development Trust, Thetford Volunteers and Age Concern.

Home Fire Risk Assessments – literally hundreds of local residents have benefited by fire-fighters visiting their homes, giving good Fire safety advice and fitting smoke detectors free of charge.

Operation Cubit – in cooperation with other agencies they have helped to remove unsightly and dangerous abandoned vehicles.

Road Traffic Collision Reduction – addressing the amount of injuries in the area through presentations to young drivers and drivers to be in local schools.

Public Awareness – through talks and discussions with groups such as Residents’ Associations, Political parties, Local clubs and organisations.

Arson Reduction – using fire statistical information to target areas of concern and engaging with local residents to address the problems.

Quick Strike - Giving support, advice and reassurance to residents following a dwelling fire in their area.

Schools – Fire Safety awareness at Key stage 1/ 2 and future programme of Key Stage 4.

Fire Safety Enforcement – Inspecting local businesses, giving advice, taking action where necessary.

If you have any comments or queries please Contact us.

How to Find the Station

The New Fire Station at Ryston Close was opened on the 16th June 2006, having moved from the Priory road site which had provided 70 years of service to the community, during that time the town and local area had developed to a point where a larger modern station with better access was required.
This is a very active station dealing with incidents over a large area, including major road and rail networks, river systems, Industrial estates, and a growing population
Each year Downham Market compile their station plan.  The plan enables the station management team to ensure that they are well prepared to deal with emergency in the local and wider areas.
The priorities for 2009/10 are:
Improve our systems for securing operational assurance
1. Improve Core Skills
2. Maintain appliance and equipment in a constant state of readiness
3. Improve appliance availability.
Improve the safety of older people in their homes
1. Risk assess the vulnerability of the occupier following false alarm domestic dwelling calls and where necessary refer to partner agency to provide support.
2. Undertake a quick strike following a fire in a residential street.
3. Utilise opportunities to generate HFRC referrals for older people.
Increase the number of working smoke detectors in domestic dwellings
1. Undertake quick strike following a fire in a residential street.
2. Fit or provide smoke alarms in properties visited during emergency calls where none exist.
3. Utilise opportunities to generate HFRC referrals.
To improve the overall competence of the workforce
1. Complete appraisals; undertake reviews and action training needs.
2. Improve use of PDR Pro.
3. Concentrate on risk critical training and core skills.
To achieve future efficiency targets
1. Improve appliance availability.
2. Reduce hours lost due to sickness.
3. Reduce injuries by focusing training on risk critical areas.
To provide services that reflect the needs and expectations of the community
1. Support one major village event.
2. Respond to all requests positively giving explanation where station cannot support an event and signpost them to alternative sources of information (leaflets, CFS team, LRM support, website)
3. Liaise with partner agencies to develop customer focused initiatives to improve our prevention and protection targets.

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