Families flee terrace inferno
By Ted JeoryAN entire row of terraced houses had to be evacuated after a fire ripped through a two-storey home.Emergency services battled desperately to wake residents in Wimpole Road, Colchester, as smoke billowed from a nearby house shortly after 2.
By Ted Jeory
AN entire row of terraced houses had to be evacuated after a fire ripped through a two-storey home.
Emergency services battled desperately to wake residents in Wimpole Road, Colchester, as smoke billowed from a nearby house shortly after 2.30am yesterday.
There were initial fears a mother and daughter might have been trapped inside the two-storey home where the blaze started, but it was later confirmed they were away.
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Residents from 15 houses were told to dress and wait in police vehicles while firefighters from Colchester, Wivenhoe and West Mersea brought the flames under control.
Paramedics treated one elderly man for smoke inhalation, although he did not have to go to hospital.
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Freda Newman, 79, who lives with her 82-year-old husband, William, next door to the burnt-out house, said she had raised the alarm when her smoke detectors had gone off and awoken her.
“Thank God, ours were working - I dread to think what would've happened otherwise. If the young lady and daughter who live next door had been there, they'd have been killed,” she added.
“The smoke was so thick you couldn't breathe - I get asthma as well, so I was having a bit of difficulty.”
The evacuated residents were eventually sent to Wimpole Road Methodist Church to keep warm, where the minister, the Rev Heather Cooper, provided tea until about 5am.
Nicholas Dimoglou had just returned from Greece to stay at his son's house, which was also next door to the fire-hit property and was rendered uninhabitable.
“It was a bit scary. I only got back here at 9.30pm and was fast asleep when I heard the banging at the door. The police, fire and ambulance people were brilliant,” he said.
Another resident, speech and language therapist Brenda Sawyer, added: “It was an interesting way to meet all the neighbours.
“We were well looked after in the church and there was a bit of community spirit about the place, but it will nice to get some sleep.”
Essex fire service has begun an investigation into the cause of the blaze, but the results will not be known for at least a week.
n Fire crews from Chelmsford and Great Baddow were called to tackle a blaze at a flat in Bramwood Road in Chelmsford at 12.30am yesterday that left one man homeless.