Explosion at Suffolk cottage

ABOUT 30 firefighters were sent to a cottage near Lavenham after a pump exploded causing a blaze and fears of a chemical spill.

About 30 firefighters were sent to a cottage near Lavenham after a pump exploded causing a blaze and fears of a chemical spill.

The incident occurred just after 5pm yesterday after Petra Leseberg and her family returned to their home in Washmere Green to find a pump room smouldering.

Chlorine, alkaline and a form of acid for use in the property’s outdoor swimming pool were inside, causing concerns it would turn into a much larger incident.

As a precaution, fire crews from Sudbury, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds, Ixworth, Ipswich and Holbrook were sent to the cottage. Paul Goodman, station manager at Bury St Edmunds fire station, said: “We were called to an explosion and a fire at a house with a swimming pool.


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“The fire was in the pump room, which was about two metres square.

“The owners came home and saw a blacked out window and felt heat on the back of the door. The fire had burned itself out by the time we arrived, but we were faced with the potential problem of chlorine, alkaline and acid in different containers.”

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The crews feared that if anything had leaked from the vessels, it could have caused a chemical reaction. However, Mr Goodman said: “It was just some chlorine tablets that had spilt. The container had been affected by the heat from the fire and they had spilled out. Once we had established that, we sent in a team wearing breathing apparatus and gauntlets to sweep up the granules and box them up.”

Although the cause of the fire was not clear, it is believed it may have started in the pump itself. Mrs Leseberg, 44, said she had put the pump on a timer and “luckily” had closed the door to the building. She felt “hugely relieved.”

“The fire service were incredible. They were so kind and careful and just a delight,” added Mrs Leseberg, who works in the legal profession.

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