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Couple's tribute to fire crews

PUBLISHED: 17:13 15 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:02 03 March 2010

A COUPLE paid tribute today to the firefighters who came to the rescue of their thatched cottage after chimney sparks set light to the roof.

Gary and Carol Lucas, of Rose Cottage in Lower Street, Stutton, said the crew were, "absolutely marvellous, every single one of them.

A COUPLE paid tribute today to the firefighters who came to the rescue of their thatched cottage after chimney sparks set light to the roof.

Gary and Carol Lucas, of Rose Cottage in Lower Street, Stutton, said the crew were, "absolutely marvellous, every single one of them."

The blaze is thought to have begun from sparks from the chimney of the Cottage shortly before 7pm yesterday.

Around 20 firefighters from Holbrook and Ipswich stopped the blaze spreading from the area close to the chimney and there was minimal damage to the property.

Mrs Lucas said: "Luckily a man was walking past and tapped on our window to say he could see sparks. We were just about to sit down and eat so if it wasn't for him it could have been a lot worse. We did panic to start with and tried to use our own hose pipe but it was frozen."

"There were no visible flames and the roof was just smouldering. The fire crew used a thermal imaging camera to see what was going on in the roof," added Mr Lucas.

Today the couple, who have lived in Rose Cottage for 18 years are starting their clean up operation in time for Christmas. Although there is no structural damage the roof will not be fixed in time for the big day.

The crews had the fire under control within 20 minutes but remained at the scene for some time to dampen down the thatch and make sure the blaze did not start again. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Paul Seager, assistant divisional officer at Suffolk Fire Service, said: "It was basically a chimney fire with a small amount of sparks and flames spreading to the top of the thatch. We attacked it hard by swamping it with personnel and managed to save most of the roof."

Meanwhile an investigation has been launched following a fire in a men's toilet block at Suffolk College.

Students and staff were evacuated from the site in Rope Walk, Ipswich, after the fire broke out in the lavatories in the engineering and construction block just after 1.50pm on Thursday.

Firefighters from Ipswich attended the blaze and had the flames under control within minutes.

A Suffolk College spokeswoman said no one was hurt in the incident but some students were sent home because they would have been taught near to where the blaze was.

"The building was immediately evacuated and the fire brigade called. The police are going to investigate and we are at this stage investigating who the possible culprits are," she said.

"We don't believe it is our students and are looking at our security pictures. At the moment we don't know how it started."


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