Blaze tears through roof of cottage

MORE than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze which swept through the roof of the detached cottage home of one of East Anglia's most enthusiastic aircraft collectors.

By David Green

MORE than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze which swept through the roof of the detached cottage home of one of East Anglia's most enthusiastic aircraft collectors.

Six crews managed to prevent flames spreading to much of the first floor and to salvage most of the furniture and other possessions. However, there was widespread smoke damage.

A passing lorry driver raised the alarm as he passed the cottage, standing beside the B1077 road at Langton Green, Eye, at about 10.45 am.

The cottage is the home of Maurice Hammond who owns several aircraft, including a Mustang dating from the Second World War.

Firefighters from Eye were first on the scene and they donned breathing apparatus to enable them to get in close to the seat of the fire - in the roof.

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They were soon joined by crews from Diss, Stradbroke, Harleston, Stowmarket and Needham Market.

Tiles and burning timbers were stripped from the roof and the contents of rooms were removed onto a back lawn.

A turntable ladder was later brought in to remove the roof ridge tiles as the structure had become unstable.

Volunteers from the Salvation Army supplied tea and sandwiches to the fire crews who were at the scene for several hours.

Assistant Divisional Officer Gary Clark , based in Ipswich, said flames had been visible from around the chimney stack area when the first crews arrived.

The whole of the main roof had suffered damaged, together with part of a flat-roof rear extension.

“It is entirely due to the hard work of the crews that the fire has been prevented from spreading to the rest of the cottage,” Mr Clark said.

The B1077 road was reopened more than five hours after the blaze broke out.

Mr Hammond said it had been a “stressful” time and he did not wish to comment. He and his family are thought to have lived in the cottage for more than ten years.

One young woman at the cottage said there was concern about the whereabouts of two cats believed to have been in the property at the time the blaze started.

A fire investigation officer later examined the scene. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.

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