Arson Attack At Care Home

A police investigation has been launched after a second mystery blaze at a Norfolk nursing home in less than two weeks. The blaze in Cedar House in Church Road, Yelverton, near Poringland, led to 24 pensioners and all the staff being evacuated from the building and have now been sent to a range of other nursing homes across the county. The fire, believed to have been started deliberately, broke out in the cellar of the nursing home. When crews arrived on the scene smoke was billowing from the 22-room, three-storey building. The fire was put out within two hours but crews stayed to ventilate the uilding and the cellar was left with serious smoke damage.

This is the second time in a week that a mysterious fire has broken out in the cellar at the nursing home and the police are treating it as arson with crime scene investigators spending yesterday collecting forensic evidence.

Norfolk Adult Social Services and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), which regulates private homes, took the dramatic decision yesterday to evacuate the building and residents have been “temporarily located” to private and county council-run homes across Norfolk.

A small fire was also started in the same place, the cellar of the home, on Sunday, August 6, at 1.05am.

The home offers long and short-term residential and nursing care. Some 18 residents were placed there by Norfolk County Council and six were private residents.

Lorna Payne, assistant director in Community Care within Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council said: “Following a fire at the home we have worked with the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the home owners to ensure that all the residents at the home are temporarily relocated.

“Our social workers have made contact with the residents’ relatives and carers to make sure that they are fully briefed with what is going on. We are taking precautionary steps on behalf of residents as there have been two fires at the premises in the space of 11 days. This is a temporary move and all residents are expected to return to the home in due course.”

Emma Charlton, marketing director of Colchester-based Caring Homes, which owns the home, said: “We are still not certain what happened. We think it was a fire contained in a very small area. It has caused quite a lot of stress to residents. Five have been evacuated to another Caring Homes home that we own and the rest have gone to nursing homes run by Norfolk Social Services.

“We put them back inside but it was a decision of Norfolk Adult Social Services to evacuate them from the building.”

Police spokeswoman Kristina Fox said: “Police are investigating an incident of arson which happened yesterday at a residential home for the elderly in Yelverton. Officers attended Cedar House in Church Road following an incident at about 7am where a fire is believed to have been deliberately started in a cellar. The blaze was contained in this room and the property was affected by smoke damage. No one was injured.”

Norwich CID are making further inquiries in relation to the incident and investigating whether there are any links with a fire which happened at the basement of the premises on Sunday, August 6.

Anyone who has any information is urged to contact officers at Norwich CID on (0845) 4564567 or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555111.