Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Homeowner of Elmswell thatched cottage devastated in fire tells of shock and sadness

13:49 22 January 2016

Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.

Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.

There were no injuries thanks to the quick work of dozens of firefighters from Suffolk and Norfolk.

The fire at the chocolate-box cottage – Halfacre, in Grove Lane – was attended by 10 pumps, one aerial platform and five other vehicles, including a command centre. Police helped to manage traffic.

When they arrived at the home, crews wearing breathing apparatus carried out “aggressive” firefighting inside and outside Robin Sherwood’s house.

Group commander Pat Dacey, from Bury St Edmunds fire station, was in control of the scene. He said much of the building had been saved thanks to the quick response and tactics and confirmed there had been no injuries.

“From the outset crews carried out some fairly aggressive firefighting tactics,” he said at the scene. “They fought the fire internally with hoses, working in tandem with crews on the outside, stripping the thatch to create a fire barrier.

Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.

“Elmswell (firefighters) arrived on the scene pretty rapidly after we received the call at about 1.45pm. I would say they were here in seven minutes. We initially dispatched four pumps and on arrival Elmswell requested six and now we have 10 at the scene.”

Crews were expected to remain at the property last night and into this morning. Several hours after the blaze caught hold, the partially-collapsed roof was still smouldering in places.

Mr Dacey added: “We have a lot a water about and it is going to get pretty treacherous later when it freezes. I feel for those [crews] staying overnight.”

The pumps came from across two counties to tackle the fire. Engines from Princes Street in Ipswich, Ipswich East, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury, Elmswell, Ixworth, Newmarket and four from Norfolk attended.

Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.Over 10 fire engines attending a large thatch house fire in Elmswell.

Mr Sherwood, 69, has been living at the home for around 15 years. He said: “It is shocking to see something like this happen to your home.

“I don’t know how much has been damaged. I don’t expect to be able to get inside to look for a while yet. There are family items upstairs that I will imagine are lost.”

At around 3pm yesterday firefighters were working to recover personal belongings, while continuing to strip thatch and use hoses to damp down the building.

Mr Sherwood said he first spotted smoke at the bottom of the chimney stack. “I saw a haze and realised it was smoke,” he said. “I called 999 immediately. It seemed quite small to start with.

“I got up on a ladder and tried to use the garden hose to fight it. It was no use as the hose was frozen so it was just a trickle of water. Whether it would have made any difference I don’t know.

“As long as the cat was sensible enough to get out and stayed away, thankfully no one has lost their life, and no one has been hurt, which is the main thing.

“You never think something like this will happen. If I did I would have probably have worked out an escape route.”

Grove Lane was closed from the junction with Ashfield Road and is expected to remain closed this morning while firefighters are in attendance.

A judge has said

A judge has warned of the dangers of “vulnerable and impressionable” people watching films or playing video games depicting gang violence and rape after sentencing a Colchester man who planned to tie up a woman and have sex with her after playing Grand Theft Auto.

(left to right) Acting Chief Superintendent Kim Warner of Suffolk Police speaks alongside mother of missing 23-year-old Corrie McKeague, Nicola Urquhart and his brothers Darroch and Makeyan McKeague, during a press conference  at Bury St Edmunds Police Station in Suffolk, as police are investigating the disappearance of the RAF serviceman, who has been missing for more than a week amid fears he may have been kidnapped. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 3, 2016. See PA story POLICE McKeague. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The police hunt for missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague has been labelled “incompetent” by his mother, as an online campaign has raised more than £15,000 to hire a private investigator.

East Bergholt village centre.

Residents living in a picturesque village in the heart of Constable country have taken their battle to block a development they believe will be a blot on the landscape made famous by the artist to London’s High Court.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer speaks in the House of Commons, London

MPs signalled they would back Theresa May’s timetable to leave the European Union after a last minute concession that she would publish her plan for Brexit first.

File picture of a police road closed sign.

There were long delays in Braintree tonight due to a crash.

The crash happened in Sudbury.

A group of people ran away from the scene of a four-vehicle crash in Sudbury today.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2016

The annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been named as the best in the country.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24