Probe continues into house blaze

FIRE investigation officers are trying to establish the cause of a fire which swept through the upstairs bedrooms of a semi-detached council home in Mettingfield, near Bungay.

FIRE investigation officers are trying to establish the cause of a fire which swept through the upstairs bedrooms of a semi-detached council home in Mettingfield, near Bungay.

The alarm was raised by neighbour Wendy Hudson, who heard her pet dog coughing at around 8.10am yesterday.

She went to see what the matter was and saw smoke and flames billowing from the roof and upstairs windows of the property next door.

"Abbey, my Boxer, was coughing, so I went to see what was wrong, and saw flames pouring from the top window," she said.

She dialled 999, and a fire crew was at the scene in Vicarage Lane within minutes.

Six fire engines, two from Lowestoft, one each from Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Loddon attended the fire.

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Assistant divisional officer John Cooke, from Lowestoft, said: "Beccles and Bungay received a call to a house fire and arrived at 8.20am. By the time I arrived at 8.30 the fire was already well developed.

"All six engines were used. The initial crews did a lot of work getting water to the engines and did a sterling job preventing the fire from spreading to the next door attached property. We had five jets working on the building, and five ladders."

A relief crew from Ipswich and a control vehicle also attended.

The narrow country lane to the property was blocked off for a few hours while firefighters damped down the wood-framed building and removed charred timbers and roof tiles.

The residents, a mother and two children, were unharmed. Their immediate neighbours, who did not wish to be interviewed, could only stand by and watch in distress as their half of the semi-detached building, which they have occupied for 18 years, was doused to prevent the fire spreading.

Neighbours Gladys Mallett and Sheila Hall, who have lived in the row of mixed private and council houses for several years, said there have been chimney fires in the row before, but never a major blaze.

Electricity and water supplies to the row of houses were temporarily suspended.