Serious fire at reclamation firm

MORE than 40 firefighters battled a large fire at a family-run business in Sproughton.

MORE than 40 firefighters battled a large fire at a family-run business in Sproughton.

Six fire engines from Ipswich and numerous support vehicles were called to Heritage Reclamations in High Street, Sproughton, shortly after 8.30pm on Wednesday night.

The owner of the business, Richard Howells, 62, told how he was driving through the village by chance when he saw the fire engines begin to arrive.

“I had been over in Essex to take my mum out for a meal and happened to be driving through the village and as I went by a fire engine pulled up. I did not realise that it was my building but I stopped because I thought that I could be helpful but realised that they were trying to break into the front of my building.

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“I felt as though I wanted to grab a hose and go in and do something about it but there was a strong hand on my shoulder which prevented me from doing that.”

The business stocks architectural antiques and period building materials. Film and TV companies often use it as a source of props for period dramas.

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The fire quickly spread from a workshop in the ground floor into the first floor and roof area at the rear of the building. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus battled the blaze from the inside and a turntable ladder was also used.

Mr Howells said he was “relieved” as he believed only a small area of the building had been lost.

“The fire brigade have been very good and they got everything under control very quickly,” he said. “They were very professional.”

Carl Francis, a group manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said it was too early to say what had caused the fire.

He added: “The scale and complexity of the building presented us with some challenges. The fact that the fire went up from the ground floor into the roof was part of the problem because that could result in unsafe floors at first-floor level and we also had to strip roof tiles off. We were working from a number of angles from inside and outside.”

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