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Gallery: Landlord describes escape from burning pub - police treating fire as "suspicious" - 60 homes without power

PUBLISHED: 12:25 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:47 18 April 2013

The scene at The George in Wickham Market

The scene at The George in Wickham Market

Archant

A LANDLORD has described his dramatic escape from a Suffolk pub after being woken by a raging fire.

The George in Wickham Market lies in ruins today following blaze that police are currently treating as suspicious.

Five fire crews were alerted to the blaze at The George in Wickham Market at 2.25am this morning after receiving multiple calls from members of the public.

When crews from Woodbridge, Framlingham, Saxmundham, Orford and Ipswich East arrived on scene there was initially a concern that people may have been inside the pub, but by 3am everyone had been accounted for.

Pub landlord, John Parnell escaped out of a small bathroom window and landed on the pub’s smoking shelter, from where he was dragged to safety by a neighbour. He said: “I heard a big explosion. I couldn’t get downstairs. I climbed out of the window. I got out as quickly as I could.

“Everything has gone - my work and my home. I haven’t even thought about what I might do now.”

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Public house has been severely destroyed by fire. “One gable end is at possible risk of collapse – a safety cordon has been put in place and a structural engineer requested.”

The flames had been bought under control by 7am, however the roof has been completely ravaged by the flames.

There is also some damage to the ground and first floor of the property.

The cause of the blaze is not currently known.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said investigators were due to visit the scene this morning to help determine the cause.

High Street is closed in both directions near to the Chapel Lane junction. The fire is currently being treated as suspicious and police and fire service investigators will be trying to determine the cause.

Meanwhile, engineers have switched off power to 60 homes in Wickham Market to help police and fire crews carry out their investigations.

A UK Power Networks spokesman said: “Engineers have temporarily turned off power to 60 properties in Wickham Market, after a fire at a pub. This is so that the police and fire services can work in safety to investigate the cause of the fire.

“We have extra staff on site to help and advise customers, and will be able to turn power back on as soon as the authorities have finished work.”

Officers are asking anyone who may have been in the area overnight to come forward if you saw anything suspicious and are also keen to speak to anyone with information that may help the investigation into the blaze.

If you can help please call Suffolk Coastal CID on 101.

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