Dalham: Salvage operation after blaze destroys thatched cottage in Church Lane

A FAMILY whose thatched cottage was gutted by fire have said they were lucky to be alive.

Lucinda Thuilliez, 42, who lived in the picturesque home with her husband, Steve, 47, and mother-in-law Joan Thuilliez, 72, thanked the actions of fire crews after the blaze ripped through their home in Church Lane, Dalham, on Sunday night.

Around 70 fire fighters battled for six hours to save the home after they were called to the property around 6.20pm.

“It was so quiet,” Mrs Thuilliez said. “If it had been the middle of the night, we would have been dead.”

As the family raked through the ashes of their home yesterday, Mrs Thuilliez thanked the emergency service for their efforts to salvage their possessions.

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“The fire brigade were amazing,” she said. “People say fire crews are great but they were just marvellous.”

Fire engines lined up along the quiet lane as fire crews battled to bring the fire under control and to stop it spreading to thatched homes nearby.

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Mrs Thuilliez, who had lived at the rented property for the past four years, said the family had lit a fire in their woodburner stove around 5pm and were watching television when they saw smoke outside the window.

Mr Thuilliez then went outside the home and saw flames licking up around the chimney near the thatched roof.

“Steve just ran in and said ‘Quick! There’s a fire! Get the dogs out!’,” Mrs Thuilliez said. “We couldn’t hear a thing.”

Racing upstairs, Mrs Thuilliez threw a box of important papers out of the bedroom window before desperately trying to save other precious items.

Mr Thuilliez put the couple’s three dogs safely in the car while emergency crews from Newmarket, Wickhambrook, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Elmswell, Ixworth, haverhill, Sudbury, Swaffham Bulbeck and Burwell arrived.

Thanks to the quick actions of the fire fighting crews, much of the family’s furniture and valuables were rescued into a temporary shelter in the garden.

Mr Thuilliez said: “I love living here.

“But the important thing is we are all safe.”

Having spent the night with friends, the family were yesterday morning trying to save clothes from the ashes of their home and were thankful no-one had been injured.

“We are all safe,” said Mrs Thuilliez’s mother-in-law, Joan. “That’s the main thing.

“It’s not Japan.”

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