Couples praise community help

TWO couples whose homes were destroyed following a massive fire have praised the local community for its support.

TWO couples whose homes were destroyed following a massive fire have praised the local community for its support.

More than 60 firefighters from across Suffolk were called to the blaze in Hitcham, near Stowmarket, shortly before 6pm on Saturday night.

The fire ripped through three terraced thatched cottages resulting in the owners of the 150-year-old cottages losing many of their belongings.

Nick and Maureen Crowley were in the process of trying to sell their home, called Monrom, and had spent �50,000 on it in the 18 months they have lived there.


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The evening before the fire Mrs Crowley's 79-year-old mother suffered a stroke. Both incidents have devastated the couple.

“We feel like we are in a nightmare,” said Mrs Crowley, 58. “We keep thinking that we are going to wake up and that it is not really happening. It is just absolutely horrendous. We go to bed at midnight and then we are up again at 4am because we cannot sleep, there are so many things going through our mind. My mum does not know that we don't have a house, we are not telling her.”

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Mrs Crowley, who has six grandchildren, said she has been taken aback by the kindness of villagers in Hitcham.

“The lady in the post office has contacted the postman and told him to take all our post there,” she said. “I went into the shop and was told that everybody in the village is going in and saying that if we want anything then we just have to let them know. The man from across the road has taken our furniture and stored it in a barn for us. We are currently staying with my son and even people in his village are offering us clothes. We just cannot believe how kind people are.”

Ross Layton, 30, and his girlfriend Camilla Savo, 25, live in Penny Cottage, the middle of the three. The whole top floor of their property was destroyed by the fire.

“We have lost pretty much everything,” said Miss Savo. “Our kitchen is just water and smoke damaged but the rest of the house is completely gone.”

The couple are unsure what will happen to their home but they too are full of praise for the community support they have received - they have been told they can stay at The Bildeston Crown until they find somewhere to rent.

“Everybody has been really kind and is offering us their support,” said Miss Savo. “It has been amazing. I think the support from everybody is making it a bit easier for us. At the end of the day we are both okay and that is the main thing.”

The third couple whose home was destroyed was Nick and Tracey Selvey. Speaking on Saturday evening, Mrs Selvey said: “We work hard for a decent life and a nice house and it just goes up in smoke. It is devastating.”

A fire investigation is still being carried out into the cause of Saturday's fire.

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