Suffolk: Number of thatch fires in county revealed

Fire crews at the scene of a thatch fire in Hitcham

Fire crews at the scene of a thatch fire in Hitcham

In the last three years there have been almost 30 thatch fires in Suffolk, the latest figures have revealed.

Over the past few months there have been numerous fires affecting properties across the county including in Heveningham, Rattlesden and Nedging Tye.

More than 440 fire appliances have been called out to the blazes since 2010. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service launched a series of seminars to educate homeowners about the dangers of thatch fires two years ago.

Jon Southgate is the fire service’s prevention delivery manager, he said: “Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service upholds the value of retaining the heritage of the county and the many beautiful thatched properties which make up the landscape.

“As the county with the second highest proportion of thatched properties outside Dorset we aim to keep the residents of thatched properties as informed as possible in order to be reassured and as prepared as they can be.

“Experience shows that the majority of thatch fires are due to heat transfer from an ill fitting or ineffective flue so this is where we concentrate our education.” He advised homeowners to get their chimneys checked and to ensure all smoke alarms are working.

Fiona Cairns, director of Suffolk Preservation Society, said it was “too easy” to characterise thatched homes as high risk.

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She said: “Our thatched buildings are a crucial part of our local architectural tradition and an important element of our regional identity and it is essential they are valued and maintained.”

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is holding further safety awareness seminars. Visit -and-rescue-service/