EastEnders actor praises firefighters for 'fantastic' job in saving historic cottage
PUBLISHED: 08:25 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 22 November 2018
Firefighters have been praised by a film star and television actor for saving the historic thatched cottage near his home.
Madhav Sharma, who plays Arshad in BBC’s EastEnders, said his was “sitting here with my heart in my mouth” as flames broke out of the roof of the Wickhambrook property in west Suffolk.
Eleven crews worked at the scene on Shop Hill, near Wickhambrook Primary School, into the night on Friday, November 16, and managed to save 80% of the thatch.
Mr Sharma, whose films include East is East and Entrapment, said the firefighters had been “fantastic”.
He added: “They were marvellous. The firemen here cleaned it up so well. When you came the next morning you wouldn’t know anything had happened.
“Everything had been tidied up, it was done beautifully. Our local firemen have done wonderfully.”
A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said crews had displayed “fantastic work”, adding it was a “great effort to stop the spread”.
To fight the blaze, which is believed to have started in the chimney, firefighters used five breathing apparatus, four nine-metre ladders, six hose reel jets, three thermal imaging cameras and chimney rods, with the assistance of the aerial ladder platform.
The fire service was called at 7.53pm and fought the blaze at the two-storey cottage for two hours.
Mr Sharma said the community rallied round to offer support to the family who live at the property.
“It’s a friendly village, otherwise I wouldn’t have been here 40 years,” he said.
Crew members were seen stripping thatch from the roof of the cottage to try to save the house as smoke bellowed from the thatch.
Residents reported seeing several fire engines driving at speed towards the scene and well wishers have taken to social media to send their thoughts to the residents of the property.
One eye witness described the fire as “horrid”.
The police were are also in attendance and the road was closed in both directions.
The house is on the B1063, otherwise known as Shop Hill.
The fire service mobilised engines from Clare, Haverhill, Wickhambrook, Bury St Edmunds, Ixworth, and Newmarket and the incident was over by 10.12pm.