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Family faces home hardship

PUBLISHED: 08:43 07 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK family's home is in ruins today after a devastating inferno ripped through the thatched roof of their detached country cottage.

Ten fire engines and more than 60 firefighters attended the blaze at Parham near Framlingham last night, following an emergency call shortly after 5pm.

A SUFFOLK family's home is in ruins today after a devastating inferno ripped through the thatched roof of their detached country cottage.

Ten fire engines and more than 60 firefighters attended the blaze at Parham near Framlingham last night, following an emergency call shortly after 5pm.

Firefighters cut a striking image as they swarmed around the flaming property using scaffolding, already in place because of ongoing building work, to climb towards the roof and tear away thatch in a bid to create a firebreak.

Three builders who were renovating a property nearby described how they spotted "glowing" close to the chimney of Mill Green Farm, Mill Green, and watched in horror as the roof of the house burst into flames within 15 minutes.

Brothers Glenn, 32, and Mark, 39, Salter, and Steven Welton, 37, tried to tackle the blaze before the fire brigade arrived at the scene and later turned to help the home owners salvage possessions.

"There were three people in there two young girls and a man. We told them to get out. They hadn't spotted the fire.

"We got on the roof and threw water over it before the fire brigade got here. We could see there was glowing coming through the thatch," said Glenn Salter.

John and Louise Patrick who are believed to have been in or near the house with their children, were not injured in the fire, which destroyed at least 70 per cent of the roof and caused extensive damage to the entire property.

Mr Welton said: "Before the fire brigade got here we said is there anything valuable you want out the house and the little girl gives me this hamster in a plastic ball. It was quite touching really. They are all upset.

"Initially it was so innocuous, it was just a glow. We tried to tackle it ourselves but it was a waste of time. Within 15 minutes the flames were through the roof."

Describing how the wind was blowing smoke away from the rear of the property Mr Salter told how he and others helped pull family possessions out of the back of the house while the inferno raged above them.

"The thatch is just holding the fire in the roof. It looks like nothing in happening from inside but it's dripping with water," he said.

As thick smoke billowed into the night sky Divisional Officer Colin Hodge told how crews were working inside and outside the property to try and stop the fire spreading and limit damage.

"We are stripping the roof of thatch and creating a fire break which will stop the fire spreading. We also have crews wearing breathing apparatus inside the building on the first floor level," he said.

Crews from Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Leiston, Woodbridge, Saxmundham, Southwold, Ipswich, Debenham, Felixstowe, Stowmarket and Stradbroke were called to the blaze.

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