Fire damages historic house

FIRE caused serious damage to a historic house in a picture-postcard Suffolk village on Friday evening.Tower House, on the junction of Front Street and Church Road in Mendlesham was badly damaged in the blaze, which started shortly before 5pm.

By Paul Geater

SALVAGE work continues today on an historic house in a Suffolk village which was ravaged by fire.

Tower House, on the junction of Front Street and Church Road in Mendlesham was badly damaged in the blaze, which started at about 4.45pm yesterday.

The roof of the house, which is believed to be several hundred years old, was reduced to rubble and burnt timber as fire got into the wooden eaves.

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Salvage workers and the fire service were on the scene today to begin the long process of clearing the burnt roof and debris.

Kathlyn Munday works in Mendlesham Stores in the village and she said the village was devastated by the fire.

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"Obviously people are devastated to have this happen. The gentleman who lives their often comes in to the shop and he is a lovely man. It is so sad to see this happen to him. To see his home go up in smoke.

"I heard a lot of commotion this morning when I got up at around 5am. The firefighters were back on the scene and work had begun very early," she said.

Assistant chief officer Chris Turnock said it was a major operation to contain the fire and prevent further damage.

"Once it has got into the roof it is difficult to deal with because the roof does its job and keeps water out," he said.

"We have to pull away the tiles to get to the fire – and there is quite a lot of salvage work to do."

No one was hurt in the blaze, but the damage was extensive. About 40 firefighters in eight appliances and a turntable ladder were called to fight the blaze.

Crews from Stowmarket, Eye, Needham Market, Debenham, Stowmarket and Ipswich were called to tackle the fire.

The cause of the fire has still not been established, but it is not thought to be suspicious. Contractors had been working on the house.

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