Man in intensive care after blaze
A 51-YEAR-OLD man was in intensive care last night after a fire ripped through his large detached home in Essex.James Reid was rushed to Colchester General Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation following a fierce blaze at his home in Wrabness, near Harwich, yesterday morning.
A 51-YEAR-OLD man was in intensive care last night after a fire ripped through his large detached home in Essex.
James Reid was rushed to Colchester General Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation following a fierce blaze at his home in Wrabness, near Harwich, yesterday morning.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said last night his condition was "stable".
Firefighters from four stations in north Essex were called to the two-storey house in Primrose Hill on the outskirts of the village shortly after 5am.
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When they arrived they found Mr Reid - his hair singed and coughing from smoke - standing "dazed and confused" in the country lane watching the fire take hold.
Firefighters said yesterday they thought the blaze started in the kitchen before spreading throughout most of the ground and first floors.
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Fourteen firefighters from Dovercourt, Weeley, Manningtree and Colchester were sent inside the house wearing breathing apparatus.
They found many rooms filled with thousands of books, magazines and old newspapers. They said these fuelled the fire, increased the intensity of the smoke and hindered their efforts to tackle the blaze.
Several hours after putting the fire out, crews were still damping down the house and clearing out some of the remaining books into the garden, which they said also contained around 20 rusting vintage 1970s cars and seven sheds full of more old newspapers.
According to firefighters, the house has suffered 100% smoke damage and is now uninhabitable.
Dovercourt fire station crew commander, Les Nicoll, said: "There were thousands of magazines, books and newspapers.
"We call them 'fire loads', which means that they just add to a blaze when it's sparked off. It can be dangerous having that sort of stuff lying around, especially near the cooker and wires from lights.
"Once they start to smoulder, they can become a real problem with the smoke that they give off."
He added: "This was a big one, one of the biggest we've had in a while, but I think we dealt with it quite well."
Neighbour Peter Vince said: "I was awoken by the sound of breaking glass from the fire. I thought I was in some weird dream and then saw all this smoke. It's quite scary when it's so close to you."