By Helen BurchellAndrew TurnerBBC News, Norfolk

Puppies were given oxygen at scene after being rescued in Great Yarmouth

Several puppies have been rescued and given oxygen masks by firefighters tackling a large blaze at a shop and flats.

It broke out at about 05:20 BST in Northgate Street in Great Yarmouth and Norfolk Fire Service sent nine crews.

It said several people were helped out via the stairs, but one had to be rescued by a ladder from a top floor window.

The roof of the building collapsed later. There are no reports of any people being injured.

John Temple Fire in a building in Great YarmouthJohn Temple

The flames caused the roof to cave in

Andrew Turner/BBC Puppy being held in the arms of a firemanAndrew Turner/BBC

Several puppies were rescued from the building and no people were reported as injured

Writing on Facebook, the fire service said: “Our crews are currently working hard at the scene and have asked any members of the public to avoid the area and to keep doors and windows closed.”

John Temple Firefighter on a ladderJohn Temple

Smoke could be seen billowing from a top floor window where one person was trapped

Andrew Turner/BBC Aerial ladder and firefighters in Great YarmouthAndrew Turner/BBC

One person had to be rescued from a top floor window

Andrew Turner/BBC Chris Harding-Hook, from the fire serviceAndrew Turner/BBC

Chris Harding-Hook said the building’s roof had collapsed

Great Yarmouth fire station manager Chris Harding-Hook said: “Within one of the flats were some puppies and we rescued those animals.

“Our appliances are equipped with special oxygen masks to administer oxygen and make sure their lungs are clean.”

He said the ambulance service was assisting firefighters in giving first aid to the animals.

People were also evacuated from flats either side of the building that was on fire, and were being looked after at a nearby pub which opened its doors early to provide hot drinks.

Mr Harding-Hook said the roof of the stricken building had “completely collapsed”.

Andrew Turner/BBC Firefighter giving oxygen to a puppyAndrew Turner/BBC

Several puppies were treated with oxygen at the scene

Andrew Turner/BBC Brandon McHugh and a dogAndrew Turner/BBC

Brandon McHugh managed to save two of his dogs and firefighters save his others

Brandon McHugh, 20, who lives in one of the flats above the shop said he was woken at about 05:30 “by the postman screaming and shouting up to me at my bedroom window that the house was on fire”.

He managed to get himself and two of his dogs out of the flat but the other puppies were stuck in another room.

“I came down the stairs and the windows blew out on the other neighbour’s property which then, I think, caught fire,” he added.

He said all of the other dogs were rescued from his flat and they were “all right now – thank God”.

Andrew Turner/BBC Firefighters with a puppyAndrew Turner/BBC

The puppies were taken care of by the fire service and ambulance crews

The Reverend Canon Simon Ward, the rector of Great Yarmouth, said he was “woken up by the smell of smoke so I came round straight away, just as the first fire engine was getting to work”.

“There was a gentleman at the top of the building and the fire brigade rescued him down a ladder and then other appliances and police arrived,” he said.

“They had to work hard to bring it under control but are doing a fantastic job – and the community are all looking out for each other as well.

“You can really see the devastation of the fire, and several of the locals were reflecting how these buildings have stood here for hundreds of years – and it’s heartbreaking to see history going up in smoke.”

Andrew Turner/BBC Firefighters in Great YarmouthAndrew Turner/BBC

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service sent nine crews to the scene in Great Yarmouth

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