Neighbours praised in fire drama

FIRE chiefs have praised the actions of quick-thinking neighbours who helped prevent a potentially devastating blaze on Saturday after they heard a smoke alarm ringing and dialled 999.

FIRE chiefs have praised the actions of quick-thinking neighbours who helped prevent a potentially devastating blaze on Saturday after they heard a smoke alarm ringing and dialled 999.

Crews from Bury St Edmunds were called to a house in the town's Avenue Approach following the call at around 12.15pm to find a fire in the kitchen - which it is believed could be the work of arsonists.

It is thought the householder, who lives at the property with his son, had left for lunch at a nearby pub just before the blaze took hold and saw the fire appliances pass him as he walked in the opposite direction.

"It was a very small fire in the kitchen area, and we are treating it as suspicious," said Assistant Divisional Officer Graham Crouch, of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.


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"Although there was not much actual fire damage, the house was quite badly damaged from smoke but fortunately nobody was in the property at the time.

"We think the fire had been burning for a while, creating a lot of smoke, and we are thankful to the neighbours who heard the domestic smoke detector and contacted us.

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"If the fire had burnt for much longer, we could have had problems."

Around 12 firefighters were called to the scene, with four wearing breathing apparatus sent into the house to tackle the blaze.

Efforts also took place to ventilate the building, which was left blackened by smoke.

Officers then began working with the police and scenes of crime experts to try and establish an exact cause.

"This shows that smoke detectors are well worth having, and it is lucky the neighbours heard the alarm," added ADO Crouch.

"Detectors are not just useful while people are sleeping, but also while they are out, as neighbours often hear them and can raise the alarm.

"Town crews attended the scene and 12 were involved in fighting the fire. It was fairly easily extinguished, and we then helped ventilate the property and clear some mess away.

"We will now carry out an investigation with the police."

The householder did not wish to comment on the blaze, which it is though caused most damage to the back door.

A spokesman for Suffolk police confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious.

He urged anyone who saw anybody acting suspiciously in the Avenue Approach area during Saturday morning to contact Bury police on 01284 774100.

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