Appeal to help couple whose thatched home was destroyed by fire spotted by nine-year-old neighbour

Kalvin Biddle, with his son Stuart and his daughter Sierra-Mae, helped escort the residents of the h

Kalvin Biddle, with his son Stuart and his daughter Sierra-Mae, helped escort the residents of the home safely outside Picture: KALVIN BIDDLE - Credit: Archant

A father has hailed his son a hero after he spotted a fire in a neighbouring house and alerted the owners - and now a fundraiser has been launched to help the family left homeless by the blaze.

The fire tore through the roof of a thatched home in Stoke Ash Picture: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK

The fire tore through the roof of a thatched home in Stoke Ash Picture: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE - Credit: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to The Street in Stoke Ash, near Eye, at 4.30pm on Friday where a thatched cottage was well alight.

It took 15 fire crews more than two hours to put out the fire - with several teams remaining on site overnight.

MORE: Firefighters called to major blaze at thatched cottage

Two connected homes were ravaged by the fire, including that of Dave and Sue O’Keeffe, who are now taking refuge at a friend’s bungalow in the village.

Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze at Stoke Ash Picture: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK FIRE AND

Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze at Stoke Ash Picture: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE - Credit: IXWORTH FIRE STATION/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

How the fire broke out has not yet been determined, but there were thankfully no injuries or loss of life.


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Katie O’Keeffe, the couple’s daughter, has now set up a JustGiving page to help her parents get back on track after they were left with “very little” following the incident.

Andrew Nygren, Katie’s partner, wanted to pay tribute to everyone who had helped the couple so far.

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He said: “It is really generous of people to help. It’s turned out they have lost almost everything.

“We really appreciate the help of everyone in the village who has been chipping in.

“Dave and Sue broke down in tears when they heard of what people have been giving.”

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

The fire was first spotted by heroic neighbour Stuart Biddle, nine.

Describing him as a hero, dad Kalvin Biddle explained the pair were playing in their garden on Friday afternoon when the youngster spotted flames coming from the house several doors down.

Mr Biddle said: “We were just playing in the garden when Stuart said: ‘Dad, is that house supposed to be on fire?’

“If he had not spotted the fire it could have been a lot worse. He reacted so quickly.

“I’m over the moon for him, as he saved lives.”

After quickly urging his neighbours to call emergency services, Kalvin darted to the front doors of the two homes to help usher the occupants safely outside.

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