Motorist saves thatched cottages

A GOOD Samaritan saved two thatched cottages from going up in flames last night by alerting the occupiers to the imminent danger.The cottages, in Ingham Road, West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, were left with only minor damage following the fire, which crews attended just after 7pm.

A GOOD Samaritan saved two thatched cottages from going up in flames last night by alerting the occupiers to the imminent danger.

The cottages, in Ingham Road, West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, were left with only minor damage following the fire, which crews attended just after 7pm.

But the incident could have been a lot worse were it not for the timely intervention of a passing motorist who spotted the first flickering of the fire.

Three crews from Bury St Edmunds tackled the blaze, along with one from Mildenhall and the forward control vehicle from Bury.


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Assistant Divisional Officer Stuart Hood, a firefighter based in Bury, attended the fire, which is thought to have been started by a spark from the chimney.

The cottages, which were both occupied at the time of the blaze, are joined together with the chimney in the middle of the buildings.

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ADO Hood said: "All thatch fires start in a similar vein - but it doesn't often end up with an outcome like this.

"The prompt actions and hard work of the crews who were initially on scene stopped the fire from spreading and affecting the rest of the building.

"In the end we stripped away a 10 foot by 20 foot area of the thatch and carried out salvage efforts.

"The occupiers are back in their houses tonight thanks to the sterling efforts of the crews."

The incident took one hour and twenty minutes to bring under control - but it could have been a lot worse, and ADO Hood congratulated the driver who played a big part in averting the danger.

He added: "The alarm was raised by a passing motorist who was driving by and saw the smoke at first and then the flames.

"He then knocked on the door and alerted the occupants, who called the fire service. The occupier doesn't even know who the motorist is - I'm sure he'd like to meet him.

"Obviously, the motorist did the right thing. If anybody sees anything of concern then they should call the fire service."

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