Thatched cottage saved by fire crews

AN ANCIENT cottage dating back 500 years was saved from being burnt to the ground yesterday when a pub-goer spotted the fire.A villager from Whatfield, near Hadleigh, saw the blaze in the roof of the cottage and fire crews were quickly alerted to stop it from spreading.

By Richard Smith

AN ANCIENT cottage dating back 500 years was saved from being burnt to the ground yesterday when a pub-goer spotted the fire.

A villager from Whatfield, near Hadleigh, saw the blaze in the roof of the cottage and fire crews were quickly alerted to stop it from spreading.

The fire started at the property in Whatfield Road, Naughton, and was seen by a drinker in the Wheelhouse pub next door.


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Angela Allen, cottage owner, praised both the drinker and the fire crews who attended the blaze at 2.30pm.

Ms Allen said: ''I was not in the property at the time - I was only gone about half an hour. The firemen have done an excellent job, they have done very well indeed.

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''They have to be admired for what they have done and I hope they are getting triple-time for this.''

She has lived in the cottage for eight years and said it was believed to be about 500 years old. Ms Allen watched as firemen cut away thatch from the roof and stopped the fire spreading through the single-storey property.

Fire crews from Needham Market and Hadleigh teamed up with two crews from the Princes Street station in Ipswich to tackle the blaze.

They say the fire is believed to have started from the stove flue.

Paul Seager, assistant divisional officer, said: ''It looks like the fire has come from the solid fuel wood-burning stove. It appears there was a break down in the flue and hot smoke and gases have come up and ignited the thatch.

''There was nobody in the house at the time and luckily somebody in the pub noticed it. They called us and we were able to arrive before the roof was fully alight. We have taken off about 15 to 20% of the roof to get back to clean straw.''

The firemen received the call at 2.31pm and they spent an hour at the cottage. Police officers attended and closed the road.

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