Norwich-based Ambass-A-Door Windows & Doors Ltd and Sprowston Joinery have been badly damaged in a fire.

David Lomax, owner of the long-established Norfolk businesses, said that most of the warehouse had gone, causing damage in excess of £1m. He added that £500,000 of finished stock ready to be shipped had also been destroyed.

“The warehouse was packed with furnished windows and there were 5,000 litres of white spirit that just caught fire,” he said. “The fire spread from one end to the other in five minutes.

“We were very busy – we were beating the recession and now we have a very risky future. All my staff are sitting at home and I don’t know when I can bring them back to work – it will be months.”

The firm, which employs 20 staff, was founded by Mr Lomax’s father in 1955.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated.