Video & Gallery: Firefighters battle house blaze

FIREFIGHTERS had burning ceilings collapsing on them as they battled to try to reach a blaze in the roof of a house at Felixstowe.

FIREFIGHTERS had burning ceilings collapsing on them as they battled to try to reach a blaze in the roof of a house at Felixstowe.

Eight crews - more than 40 firefighters - tackled the incident at a three-storey detached property in Quilter Road.

The teams had to overcome a series of problems but were praised for doing a fantastic job, restricting the flames to the roof space and managing to save the family's precious possessions.

The loft was gutted and the roof devastated by the blaze, which broke out at about 8.30am today - emergency services were called by a neighbour who spotted smoke billowing from the top of the building.

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Assistant divisional officer Karl Rolfe said the fire had started in the roof and was possibly caused by an electrical fault but this would not be known until a fire investigation was complete and nothing was ruled out at this stage.

“The first crews which arrived got into the building and were going up through house with no fire on any level until they came to the roof,” he said.

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“The crews faced a double challenge because it was fairly difficult to get into the roof space and while they were trying to get in to fight the fire the ceilings were collapsing on them from the fire the other side.

“The crews then had to find a way to get in from the outside to vent the fire.

“Because of the overhead wires in the area we could not deploy the turntable ladder and so had to use manual ladders.

“They have worked very hard indeed. At one stage I thought this was going to be a major fire but we have managed to contain it in the roof and, working with the owners, have salvaged and saved all of the contents except for a little water damage.”

ADO Rolfe said officers were remaining at the scene for some hours to ensure the Edwardian building was safe and the fire was completely out.

“A lot of the construction is lath and plaster and we want to ensure there is no smouldering anywhere,” he added.

House owners Ian and Justine Chesterman were out at the time taking their children to school and returned to find their home on fire. They did not wish to talk about the incident.

A neighbour who spotted the smoke said: “I was in the garden and I thought there was a bonfire somewhere but I couldn't see one and it appeared too much for a bonfire.

“Then I saw the smoke and called the fire service immediately.”

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