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Did tumble dryer cause the devastating fire at Kelsale Hall in Suffolk?

21:57 16 February 2017

The fire at Kelsale Hall. Picture: GARETH PERKINS SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

The fire at Kelsale Hall. Picture: GARETH PERKINS SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Archant

The devastating fire that caused “significant loss” to a historic Suffolk mansion is thought to have been started by a tumble drier.

The Grade II listed Kelsale Hall was heavily damaged in the blaze, which began on Wednesday evening, despite the best efforts of up to 80 firefighters who battled through the night trying to save the 19th Century building.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue, which has begun an investigation into the fire, said the likely cause was a tumble dryer, although a spokesman added there were “other causes yet to be eliminated”.

Although people were said to have been inside the building when the blaze began, no one is reported to have been injured.

It is understood the property belongs to Nicholas Theodorou, whose son Andrew Theodorou owns the King’s Head in nearby Yoxford.

A member of the family, speaking to reporters at the entrance of the home’s driveway this morning, said: “It’s a tragic loss and we are devastated.” The family has asked for privacy during this difficult time.

The home, which is surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland, hosts a well-established shoot. It is listed on a website as offering “200 bird days” a year, shooting pheasant, partridge, duck, woodcock and pigeon.

According to the listing, visitors are served a light lunch of “quails eggs and terrine among other delicious light bites” as well as a selection of drinks, including champagne.

People living nearby said shoots were held regularly, with the latest taking place earlier in the day of the fire.

At its height, as many as 80 firefighters were on the scene, battling to save the historic building and its annex.

Many of the crews were involved in supplying water to the house, which is set several hundred metres back from the A12 and the nearest hydrant.

Area commander Ian Bowell, speaking from the scene on Wednesday night said the age of the building made it too dangerous for his crews to battle the flames from inside and he feared the building would be totally destroyed.

“It’s an absolutely tragic loss,” he added.

Crews stayed on scene all night fighting fires and trying to protect the annex.

A service spokesman said yesterday that although the main building had suffered “significant loss” the annex had been saved, despite some damage.

The farmland surrounding the hall is part of a separate estate. In 2011, the farmland was put up for sale, with a value of more than £19million.

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