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Fast action saves historic barn

PUBLISHED: 12:59 30 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

A HISTORIC Suffolk barn was saved from total ruin when construction staff there spotted smoke billowing from a roof.

A HISTORIC Suffolk barn was saved from total ruin when construction staff there spotted smoke billowing from a roof.

Charles Brocklebank, owner of the barn at Mill Farm, Hadleigh Road, Higham, praised the workmen who alerted emergency services the moment they saw the thatched roof smouldering.

"The lucky part was that we were having some work done and the men doing the work saw smoke and had a mobile phone and rang the police," he said. "We're so lucky they were working here."

Mr Brocklebank also praised the 20 fire fighters who had to cope with the heat of the sun as well as that of flames as they battled to put out the blaze on Saturday morning.

Fire crews from Suffolk and Essex spent more than an hour tackling flames which destroyed about half the roof.

Fire station officer Ian Bowell said that firefighters had to strip burning thatch.

"It is very labour-intensive in these hot conditions and we have to have a lot of rotation of crews and a regular supply of cold drinks.

"We don't want the men to get heat exhaustion. And they could be be called out to another fire soon," he said.

"The barn dates to 1825 so it always nice to save as much of the property as we can so it can hopefully be returned to normal."

Mr Bowell said the cause of the fire was unknown and that police and fire investigators would carry out an inquiry in to the reason for the blaze on one of the hottest days of this year.

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