Santa’s grotto is being rebuilt after blaze at Notcutts garden centre

Father Christmas is having a new home built following a blaze at his grotto at Notcutts garden centre in Woodbridge.

The company has confirmed that all ‘Santa experiences’, where children can meet him face-to-face over breakfast or tea, will go ahead as planned following the fire on Sunday afternoon.

Notcutts chiefs said his grotto would be closed until further notice, although staff were working hard to rebuild it.

Firefighters were called to the scene in Ipswich Road at around 3.30pm on Sunday, December 3.

Flames and smoke were seen billowing from a marquee where Santa’s grotto was located.

A spokeswoman from Notcutts confirmed that no one had been injured as a result of the fire.

She said: “On Sunday 3rd December, there was a fire in the Christmas grotto.

“Fire crews were on site quickly and no customers or colleagues were injured during the incident.

“The centre manager and colleagues were quick to follow safety protocol at the time of the incident and everyone was evacuated swiftly and safely.

“We are currently undertaking a thorough investigation.”

Two fire engines, from Woodbridge and Ipswich East station, were sent to the scene.

Paramedics from the East of England Ambulance service were also sent to the garden centre, although they were not required to treat anyone.

Eyewitnesses reported that the smoke could be seen as far as the Thoroughfare in Woodbridge, where the town’s big annual Christmas street fare was taking place.

The Notcutts spokeswoman added that staff were working hard to build a new home for Santa and his elves in the garden centre.

“The main garden centre and restaurant are open as usual today,” she said.

“We would like to thank emergency services for their quick response and customers for their cooperation while we dealt with this incident.”

The circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire are still unknown.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said a full investigation into what happened was under way.

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