May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Emma Brennan
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
AN elderly man with dementia was lucky to escape injury after his sheltered housing bungalow was gutted by fire.
More than 30 firefighters tackled the blaze at Tenter Piece in Lavenham yesterday, which is believed to have broken out in the kitchen of the mid-terrace bungalow.
Witnesses reported seeing the man, who is thought to be in his 80s, come out of his home just moments before the property became engulfed in flames.
Fellow residents of the Babergh District Council-run independent living scheme called the fire service just after 11.30am. The man was taken to West Suffolk Hospital by ambulance with suspected smoke inhalation.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service western district commander, Pat Dacey, said people living in the adjoining five bungalows were all evacuated.
He told the EADT: “This is a serious fire which has destroyed a single bungalow. It started in the kitchen but quickly spread to three other rooms and to the roof space.
“Our crews, many of whom are retained firefighters with other jobs, acted extremely professionally and managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjoining properties, which was the biggest challenge. We have now launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.”
Tenter Piece resident Wysocki Miroslaw, who witnessed the incident, said: “The man came out of his house and sat on a bench. Then the next thing we could see was flames. It happened so quickly it was frightening.”
Six appliances, including two crews from Sudbury, one from Bury, one from Hadleigh, an aerial ladder platform from Colchester and a command support crew from Ixworth, attended the incident. The gas board and UK Power Networks were also called to isolate supplies to the complex.
Tenter Piece provides independent living for older people with the support of a scheme warden who visits three days a week to check on their welfare.
Last night, a Babergh spokeswoman said: “All four residents from the adjoining properties have gone to stay with relatives and friends and we will be in discussions with them about when they can return.”