Firefighters save thatched bungalow

MORE than 30 firefighters tackled a blaze in the roof of a thatched bungalow in Suffolk last night.

FIREFIGHTERS who tackled a blaze in the roof of a thatched bungalow in Suffolk were today praised for their hard work to contain the flames.

More than 30 firefighters worked tirelessly to isolate the fire in the roof of the building last night, removing thatch to create a fire break, saving the building from further damage.

Five fire crews were called to the scene at the Old Forge in Bridge Street, Long Melford after the blaze broke out shortly after 8.30pm in the thatch roof surrounding the chimney breast.

The occupants of the building, believed to be a young couple, managed to escape the blaze at an early stage without being hurt.

The crews from Long Melford, Clare, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds were assisted by a turntable ladder, support pump and command unit, all from Bury.

Dave Collins, group manager in Mid Suffolk for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters worked “very, very hard,” removing about five metres of thatch on each side of the roof to successfully contain the flames.

Most Read

“Thatch fires are notoriously difficult for firefighters to fight,” he said. “Visually they look slow burning but they spread very, very rapidly once they take hold in the roof.

“Sometimes they do not show themselves on the surface for a while.”

He said upon arrival the first crew discovered fire in the thatch at the rear of the building, near to the chimney, as well as fire starting to show at the front of the thatch roof.

Firefighters were able to largely contain the blaze to the roof of the building with only a small amount of water damage to the remainder of the building.

Police were called to the scene to supervise traffic control while firefighters fought the blaze.

EDF engineers were also on hand to isolate the power during the firefighting operation.

Although the cause of the fire is yet to officially be established, Mr Collins said it is likely it was related to the wood burner in the property, the flue lining or the chimney itself.

He said: “Anyone in a thatch property should always ensure their wood burners, flue linings and chimneys are correctly and regularly maintained.”

Anyone living in a property with a thatch roof requiring further advice can contact Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's community safety department on 01473 260588.