THE ROOF IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FIRE BARRIER fames cant spread without oxygen.

Parishioners at St John of the Cross Roman Catholic Church in Aylsham, are counting their blessings after a fire yesterday reduced a shed to ash, but a new fire resistant roof prevented it from spreading further into the adjoining church.

Four fire crews tackled the early morning blaze on January 18 at Gashouse Hill and managed to control the flames.

The 1960s building was left with a burnt hole in a section of its roof, a smashed window, plus smoke and water damage.

Parish priest, Rev James Walsh, said: “Thanks to the local Fire Service any major damage was averted. The new fire-resistant roof also prevented a major catastrophe.

“Members of the congregation have responded well to this incident. They have cleared up the fire damage and have made the building weather-proof so that weekday and Sunday Masses can continue without a break.”

Church members Peter and Wendy Adamson were among the first on the scene.

Peter told the North Norfolk News: “The fire brigade said that if the old roof had still been on, there would probably be nothing left.

“It’s also very fortunate that we have arranged to have the church decorated inside and out, but that won’t be happening until May.”

The church, which has an average congregation of 70, will be open as usual for Friday morning mass. It is one of the three churches that make up the parish of North Walsham.

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