Cottage clear up continues today
A GUTTED roof is all that remains today of a beautiful thatch at a family home in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.Fire devastated the roof and top floor of Blacksmith's Cottage, Sandy Lane, Iken on Saturday, just weeks after renovations had been completed.
A GUTTED roof is all that remains today of a beautiful thatch at a family home in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.
Fire devastated the roof and top floor of Blacksmith's Cottage, Sandy Lane, Iken on Saturday, just weeks after renovations had been completed.
The remote six-bedroomed 18th century cottage set in 1.5 acres had been owned by Hollywood cinematographer, Vernon Layton for 11 years and was sold to its present owners two years ago.
A builder's board standing in the grounds bears testament to the work that had been going on at the property.
Crews from all over east Suffolk were called to cottage after smoke was seen coming from the thatched roof.
More than 80 fire fighters were at the scene shortly after 6pm. It is not sure yet how the blaze started and investigations are still continuing in to the cause.
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Today the shocked family were trying to salvage their possessions but said they did not want to talk about the incident.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Ken Seager, from force headquarters in Colchester Road, Ipswich, said: "On arrival the local crews were faced with a serious fire in the thatch. Initial attempts were made to salvage as much as possible from the house and assistance was requested."
A total of 15 fire engines from Ipswich, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Orford, Framingham, Saxmundham, Leiston and Aldeburgh were called to the remote country scene.
The severity of the blaze meant that the fire quickly spread to the first floor and it took more than four hours to bring it under control.
Relief crews stayed at the property overnight as a precaution.
The owners of the property were not home at the time but their son, believed to be in his late teens, said building work had just been completed. He too was upset and declined to comment other than to say he was in a deep state of shock.
Fire officers said they believed the young occupant was watching television when the electric supply cut out. He then noticed smoke coming from the roof and contacted neighbours and the fire brigade was called.
Before the blaze took hold friends and neighbours managed to remove some furniture and a number of possessions.
DCO Seager said: "The roof was 80 per cent alight and it was a very difficult and dangerous job for the fire fighters. It was a completely still night and with the thick smoke it meant that all fire fighters had to wear breathing apparatus for their own protection.
"The only way to deal with this sort of fire is to pull the thatch off. It is horrible dirty work and fatigue is the major problem for fire fighters."
Crews used the water from the outside swimming pool to pump on to the fire. Throughout the evening the pool was refilled to maintain a water supply for the fire fighters.
Eight fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus plus four jets and six hosereels were in use. An Operational Support Unit was also called and turntable ladder from Ipswich and a water bowser from Framingham were also in attendance.
Vernon Layton's films include: Don't Go Breaking My Heart, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Under Suspicion with Liam Neeson.