Fire could be seen for miles
SMOKE from the Eleveden blaze could be seen from Stowmarket – more than 25 miles away.Suffolk's chief fire officer Malcolm Alcock's first sight of the blaze came as he drove to the blaze from Ipswich.
By Amanda Cresswell
SMOKE from the Eleveden blaze could be seen from Stowmarket – more than 25 miles away.
Suffolk's chief fire officer Malcolm Alcock's first sight of the blaze came as he drove to the blaze from Ipswich.
He praised firecrews struggling with the fire.
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Mr Alcock said "The staff are working in extremely difficult conditions, it's extremely hot and the actual fire fighting will last another six to eight hours, but we will be here for another 24 hours damping down."
He said it was the largest fire he had had in Suffolk for some time.
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"Every now and again we get one of this magnitude," he said.
"It was a very significant fire and I saw smoke from Stowmarket on my way here," he added.
He said management raised the alarm, although there are automatic fire alarms in the building.
Superintendent Douglas Paxton of Suffolk Police said out of the 3,500 guests there was one reported minor casualty suffering from smoke inhalation and minor burns.
"The rest of the people are safely in their villas now and will be evacuated on a stage basis to return to their homes at the conclusion of the day.
"They are safe, there are no other reported casualties and there is no need for people to worry about the welfare of their friends and families."
The fire brigade and Center Parcs staff worked very quickly and effectively to ensure the safe evacuation of guests and staff.
Kathryn Stewart, from Center Parcs, said "We can confirm that unfortunately there has been a fire in the plaza at Elvedon Forest this morning. A full evacuation of guests and staff took place immediately and because of the damage to the plaza complex, guests are leaving the site and future guests are being contacted to postpone their breaks."
The company is telling people who are booked to go to Elveden on holiday over the next few days to stay at home – the future of the complex is not yet clear.