Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Video: Owners speak after their ‘dream cottage’ in Battisford is destroyed in thatch fire

13:48 21 March 2014

Aftermath of the house fire in the village of Battisford.

Aftermath of the house fire in the village of Battisford.

The owners of a home gutted in a devastating thatch fire are today trying to rebuild their lives.

shares
The cottage in Mill Road, Battisford, devastated in the fireThe cottage in Mill Road, Battisford, devastated in the fire

Annie Hand was alone in her “dream cottage” in Battisford, near Stowmarket, yesterday evening, oblivious to the fire that had started above her at about 4.50pm.
It was only when one of her neighbour’s friends banged on the door that she got out and realised the “nightmare” that was developing around her.

She said: “I was at home when it started, totally unaware that it was alight. The neighbour was banging on the door and said ‘your house is on fire!’”

“When I was outside I saw the thatch was alight below the chimney. I went round the back to get the dogs and it had already spread. It was clear it had been burning for a while.”

Ms Hand was at the home, in Mill Road, waiting for her partner Ian Bell, who works in Hertfordshire for a logistics and freight firm, to return.

Emergency services at the scene of a thatch fire in Battisford.Emergency services at the scene of a thatch fire in Battisford.

She said: “He was coming off the A14 when the fire trucks came past and the bowsers - but thought they could not be for us. He then followed them up the road home.”

“It’s the worst nightmare if you live in a thatch. You take the risk but you don’t think it’s going to happen.

“We’ve just finished the garden and it looked wonderful; now look at it. But I got out and we are alive and that’s the main thing.”

Around 50 firefighters battled to control the fire but by the time they arrived it had already taken hold of the 16th century property’s thatch.

The road was closed as the emergency operation continued into the night. Around dozen neighbours rallied to help the fire crews save countless items of personal property. Quick-thinking residents erected gazebos to protect the possessions from rain.

Ms Hand said: “The neighbours were just fantastic, they put gazebos up in the garden. The firefighters were just throwing out things out of the windows, trying to get as much out as possible.

“It’s an amazing community, it’s very supportive. The road was shut, it was all blocked - no-one could get up or down - we knew something monumental had happened.

“We’re now waiting for the insurers to come. We now need to find somewhere to live - this is not a short-term project - it will take six months to a year (to rebuild the cottage).”

The couple has lived in the Grade-II listed five-bedroom home for more than three years after moving from Berkshire. Two of the bedrooms are in an annex which has survived the fire.

Ms Hand, who formerly worked as a project manager, said the couple had always taken precautions with their home’s log burner.

shares

0 comments

Former Met police officer Colin Sutton with his dog Jasper

Many might describe Colin Sutton as a ‘proper copper’ - the sort with blue blood running through his family’s veins.

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town shouts instructions Bristol City v Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he is as frustrated and agitated as supporters after this afternoon’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Bristol City made it four losses from five games in all competitions.

The Belstead House in Pinweood, Ipswich.

Frustrated councillors who object to plans to build 155 homes in their parish are threatening legal action against planners.

Fire crews free trapped horse. Library image.

Three fire crews helped to release a horse trapped inside a horse box this afternoon.

Terry Brown stands next to a sign he erected to urge BT to take action

A Finningham man has claimed his father “could have died” after BT left his elderly parents without signal for a fortnight.

Southwold

A Suffolk GP surgery has been rated as Outstanding following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A file picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters were called to a home in Springfield Road in the early hours.

Most read

Fred Olsen Travel Sale

cover

Click here to view
the Fred Olsen
Travel Sale

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24