Fire crews tackle blaze at warehouse in Wherstead Road, Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 17:38 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 20:24 22 December 2017
More than 45 firefighters have tackled a fire at a warehouse in Wherstead Road, Ipswich.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service was called at 2.53pm to reports of flames at a warehouse, believed to the old railway building.
Eight crews were called to the scene to tackle the fire on the second floor.
The building, which measures around 40m x 10m, was heavily smokelogged when crews arrived.
Station commander Jon Illingworth said there were signs of rough sleepers at the scene so the operation quickly became a search for missing people.
Speaking at the scene he said: “The fire is at a derelict building which is all boarded up.
“First crews arrived to find smoke issuing from the building.
“The concerns at that time were that there were signs around of people sleeping rough so the priority became a missing persons operation.
“We brought necessary resources to deal with the fire and to carry out the search and made entry to the building with breathing apparatus.
“Crews have worked very hard to fight the fire and clear the smoke.
“A thorough search of the building was conducted and we are satisfied it is clear and the fire is out.”
Crews called a stop on the incident at around 4.30pm.
Mr Illingworth added that the hard work of the crews had prevented the fire becoming more serious.
“The crews have worked very hard and very quickly,” he said.
“They have done a fantastic job to get this under control quickly and to prevent what could have been a major fire.
“It was about getting on top of it and making sure it didn’t spread.
“We are very close to residential properties so the fact we have contained it is important.”
He added the operation was especially difficult for the firefighters entering the building due to the restricted vision in the smoke.
“Because the building was all boarded, up even when we arrived in daylight it was dark inside and difficult to see in the smoke.
“The firefighters primarily used thermal imaging and hand torches to see.”
Officers from Suffolk police were also called to the scene to manage traffic although there were still heavy delays in the area.
It is not known at this time whether the fire was started deliberately.