Update: Neighbour praised for rescuing woman in her 80s from bungalow fire in Foxhall Close, East Bergholt
19:36 04 August 2014
A neighbour has been praised for rescuing a woman in her 80s from a bungalow in Suffolk just moments before it was engulfed in flames and thick bellowing smoke.
The property in Foxhall Close, East Bergholt, was left completely gutted in the blaze, which developed rapidly from about 1.20pm this afternoon, forcing neighbouring homes to be evacuated overnight.
The homeowner, reported to be a woman in her 80s who lived alone, was said to have been rescued from the property moments before flames were seen shooting from the front kitchen window.
Kathleen Cherry, 67, who lives nearby said one of her neighbours had dashed into the property to usher the woman to safety.
“If she hadn’t gone in when she did I don’t know what would have happened,” she said.
“Just as she got her out flames started shooting out.
“There was thick black smoke bellowing from the window and it just got hold so quickly.
“Flames were shooting out of the window, glass was shattering - it was horrendous.”
Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s watch commander David Edwards said the crews were met by large plumes of smoke as they approached from the A12 and arrived to find tall flames burning fiercely through the roof.
“Within five minutes the roof had collapsed so we did not commit anyone inside - the big concern was that it may spread to the adjoining properties,” he said.
“It was a fully developed fire and at that time of day we would not expect it to become so fierce without being seen a lot sooner.”
Eight appliances from Ipswich, Woodbridge, Holbrook and Colchester, including a hydraulic platform, spent more than an hour tackling the blaze and stayed on site to damp down the charred remaining shell.
Babergh District Council boarded up the damaged property and checked on the adjoining bungalows, which suffered smoke damage and were evacuated. Housing officers supported the evacuated residents find temporary accommodation.
Another neighbour, who did not give his name, said the fire “completely enveloped” the kitchen in just 10 minutes and provoked some alarm that it may spread further through the close.
He said the woman rescued from the destroyed bungalow had lived there since the estate was first built 24 years ago.
An investigation will be carried out tomorrow into the cause of the fire.