Damage 'limited' in solicitors' blaze

FIRE ripped through an Ipswich solicitors' office – but the main loss was a £20 bottle of bubbly.Firm partner Neil Saunders was relieved as he sifted through the charred debris in his office this morning.

FIRE ripped through an Ipswich solicitors' office – but the main loss was a £20 bottle of bubbly.

Firm partner Neil Saunders was relieved as he sifted through the charred debris in his office this morning.

He said: "We're incredibly lucky, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

"For some reason I took a lot of my files home yesterday. A lot of the paperwork I lost turned out to be old law reports.

"But I'm a bit disappointed about the Champagne – it was the most expensive bottle of Champagne I've ever had."

Fire crews were called to the Saunders Goodin Riddleston offices, in Queen Street, just after 6pm yesterday.

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They found flames licking from the roof and spewing from the first and second floors of the building.

Firefighters hacked their way in through the roof and entered the building from the front and the rear as they battled the blaze.

A turntable ladder was summoned to join engines from Princes Street, Colchester Road and Felixstowe. The blaze was put out in about an hour.

Both Mr Saunders and fellow partner Charles Riddleston had nothing but praise for the professionalism and dedication of the firefighters.

Mr Riddleston said: "They were absolutely excellent. When I got here they had even taken my suit out of the office and folded it up downstairs to keep it in the dry."

Investigators are due at the scene later today, but firefighters last night highlighted an electrical fault as the likely cause.

Mr Saunders said: "All in all, it's really not too bad. I'll need a new computer and my lamp seems to have melted, but I got all my certificates off the wall.

"We'll need a lick of paint and probably a new roof, but it just goes to show how well built this building is.

"The firefighters were trying to get the floorboards up to get at the flames and it needed an awful lot of elbow grease.

"I thought it was a joke last night when Charles called me to tell me what was going on.

"Shock wasn't the word – I didn't sleep much last night, but it looks a lot better this morning.

"We've just got the firefighters to thank. They were efficient, professional, nice, caring and courteous.

"And we must thank the Giles Tavern across the road for keeping them well-fuelled with coffee."

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