July 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 23, 2014
A Grade II listed home on the market for more than £650,000 in west Suffolk suffered a devastating thatch fire yesterday.
Fire crews were called to Turnpike Hill in Withersfield, near Haverhill, shortly before 11am. The blaze ripped through the thatch, destroying the roof of the Grade II listed £675,000 property despite the efforts of dozens of firefighters.
It is understood the couple, who were believed to be preparing to move from their three-bedroom home, are staying at a hotel after the ordeal.
Next-door neighbour Hannah Green, 25, along with her boyfriend and brother rushed to help when they heard shouting coming from the garden.
She said: “They were burning some documents, having a clear-out before the move. I heard a scream of someone saying ‘call the fire brigade’. We brought a hose and buckets to help to try and get it out. I cannot believe what’s happened.”
The couple were believed to be planning to move out in just two weeks.
A total of 10 crews attended as well as water carriers and a command support team.
Mick Peck, watch commander at Needham Market, was heading the relief operation once the fire was brought under control.
He said: “There’s no roof left whatsoever, all the thatch has gone. The first crews here managed to salvage most of the furniture and take it out of the building. There’s nothing left apart from the outside walls.
“An investigation has now started into the cause of the fire.”
The road in the quiet village was closed for hours while fire crews worked at the scene.
Volunteers from The Salvation Army arrived and offered firefighters tea and refreshments. Luckily the fire did not spread to the property’s garage which is also thatched.
Neighbour Elizabeth Poynder said: “I saw the fire engines when I went down the road as it started. There were two engines first but I could not get back home very easily later on as more fire engines had arrived. They (the couple) are fine, the fire engines got there quickly but they said they could not do much with the house.
“No-one was in danger, they got most of the contents out.”