Devastation after cottage blaze

TWO couples have spoken of their devastation after a massive fire tore through a row of picturesque thatched cottages.More than 60 firefighters from across Suffolk were called to Hitcham, near Stowmarket, shortly before 6pm on Saturday night.

TWO couples have spoken of their devastation after a massive fire tore through a row of picturesque thatched cottages.

More than 60 firefighters from across Suffolk were called to Hitcham, near Stowmarket, shortly before 6pm on Saturday night.

It is believed the fire started in the roof area of one of three terraced thatched cottages before spreading to the neighbouring two.

Firefighters were hampered in their efforts to prevent the fire from spreading by strong winds.


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Some of the people living inside the cottages - which included Holly Tree Cottage and Monrom - rushed to safety after villagers saw the fire in the roof and alerted them.

Nick Crowley, 58, has lived with his wife Maureen, 58, in Monrom Cottage for just under two years and was in the process of trying to sell it.

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Speaking outside his home on Saturday night, he said: “I am devastated. It is unbelievable. I was coming down the road on my way home and I saw all these lights and the smoke. I could not believe what I saw.

“The firefighters have been brilliant and got lots of our things out, they have been marvellous, but it has just devastated the inside. I just cannot believe what I am seeing.

“It is great to see that everybody got out safely but it is just a nightmare really. I had it on the market to be sold but obviously it will not be sold now.”

Nick and Tracey Selvey's 150-year-old cottage was also destroyed in the blaze. “I just lit the fire and within 10 minutes somebody knocked on the door and said the thatch was alight,” said Mrs Selvey, who has lived in the cottage with her husband for four years. “We work hard for a decent life and a nice house and it just goes up in smoke. It is devastating.”

Mr Selvey added: “Everything inside is new, it is incomprehensible really.”

In total 10 fire engines - including some from as far afield as Newmarket and Felixstowe - as well as a number of support vehicles, attended the incident.

An investigation is now underway into the cause of the blaze.

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