Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C


Heroic neighbour helps tackle thatch roof fire at 200-year-old house

18:00 23 March 2016

A fire took out part of the roof of a thatched cottage on The Causeway in Great Horkesley.

A fire took out part of the roof of a thatched cottage on The Causeway in Great Horkesley.

A homeowner in Essex has hailed the heroic work of nearby neighbours in saving his house after a thatch-roof fire broke out.

At around 6.15pm on Tuesday flames were spotted by a neighbour at the house of David and Vivien Murthwaite in The Causeway, Great Horkesley.

The quick thinking neighbour, who did not wish to be named, quickly alerted 63-year-old Mrs Murthwaite, who was in the house on her own at the time, before dialing 999.

But his extraordinary efforts went even further when he began to tackle the fire on the roof with a ladder and garden hose, helping to contain the spread of flames.

Thirteen fire engines from across Essex and Sudbury were scrambled 10 minutes later, and worked for more than two hours to extinguish the blaze.

Mr Murthwaite, 65, the retired former police chief superintendent in Colchester, said: “They did a tremendous early job getting the hose on it and when the fire brigade arrived they did a superb job.

“There are not many thatch fires where you have two thirds left, and that is credit to my neighbours and the fire brigade.”

It is not yet known how the fire started at the 220-year-old house, but Mr Murthwaite said he suspected it may have been a breach between the flue lining and chimney stack.

Fortunately, the damage was mostly contained to the roof and one bedroom, with some minor smoke and water damage, but Mr Murthwaite admitted: “We are lucky the vast amount of damage is confined to the roof and one bedroom.

“As you would expect it was a very worrying and traumatic time, but we are just trying to get back to some level of normality.

“Neighbours, friends, family and the fire brigade have been very supportive and I am very pleased with the sense of community when times are tough.”

An Essex Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed that no-one had been injured in the fire.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Groups of ‘thugs’ went on a destructive rampage on Norwich Road in Ipswich at the weekend - kicking down garden walls, smashing bins and leaving the area looking ‘like a bomb site’.

Couples seeking help in conceiving are invited to an open day at Ipswich Hospital to meet fertility experts.

Volunteer teachers are working to transform the lives of migrants and refugees in the most deprived areas of Ipswich as part of a newly established charity.

There is slow traffic on the A12 in Suffolk this afternoon because of a broken down vehicle.

How well do you really know Ipswich?

Previously two schools, Northgate High School is currently the largest high school in Ipswich with 1,700 pupils on roll.

A man in a black T-shirt with white writing on who spoke to Corrie McKeague in Pizza Mama Mia, Bury St Edmunds, on the morning he disappeared has now been traced and spoken to.

With a love for cuddles and having their tummies tickled it seems unlikely these furry friends could be evil omens or harbingers of doom.

A new chief executive has been appointed to take over the reins at Mid Suffolk and Babergh Councils.

Lucky groups of youngsters are being treated to an adventure up the River Orwell and Stour estuaries - learning about the wildlife on Suffolk’s coastlines on board a sailing boat.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24