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Residents ‘fear for children’s safety’ after third fire at Ipswich’s Masons Pub in less than two months

The Masons in Victoria Street, Ipswich which has been badly damaged by fires.

The Masons in Victoria Street, Ipswich which has been badly damaged by fires.

A once quiet street in Ipswich has now become a place of fear, an anxious resident has said after a third fire engulfed a pub on the road in less than two months.

Masons Pub Fire. Picture contributed by Jade Toni Mayes Masons Pub Fire. Picture contributed by Jade Toni Mayes

Joanna Struzynska, who raised the alarm as thick black smoke billowed out of the Masons Pub in Victoria Street on Sunday evening, is keeping her children inside and is “terrified” in her own home.

Now the mum-of-two, who has lived in a house opposite the pub for five years, is planning to move away from the area after yet another “very frightening fire” was sparked in the derelict building.

Eight fire crews - more than 50 firefighters - battled a blaze at the pub which is thought to have started shortly after 8.20pm on Sunday.

Just hours later, at 1.27am on Monday, two crews were sent back to the scene following reports of a second fire, which is thought to have started in a ground floor room.

“I saw the flames, lots of them, and raised the alarm,” said Ms Struzynska, who is 33.

“I have two children and want to protect them, and the last time it happened, a few months back, we were all sleeping. I fear for my children’s safety.

“This area used to be a nice, quiet place. But now it is a place of fear, and we want to move away. I have been here five years with my partner and my children but I now want to get away from here as it’s just so scary living near it.”

To tackle the first fire, crews used an aerial ladder platform to remove roof tiles and damp down the blaze, which was on the first floor.

It is understood firefighters had to fight the flames from the roof after the building’s stairs collapsed.

Another resident, mum-of-three Patricia Leitao, lives just behind the pub in Rendlesham Road.

The 38-year-old said: “I didn’t even know about the fires until my relative rang me worried that it might be my house on fire. I opened the door during the first one and there was a thick, dark cloud of smoke. I immediately thought that’s the pub, as it’s happened quite a few times now.

“It’s really scary, and there’s a play area and a school round the corner. I don’t let my kids play there anymore, because I am afraid. I am afraid of what will happen to them.”

An investigation into both fires is underway, and the building was re-inspected by fire crews at around 8am yesterday morning.

Ms Struzynska added: “It was very frightening as we woke up and heard noise and saw lots of smoke. There’s a tree outside, and we’re worried that if the fire spreads it could catch alight and cause our houses to go on fire too.”

The fires come less than two months after a blaze at the building was put down as suspected arson.

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