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Fire heartbreak for new house family

PUBLISHED: 15:53 06 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK family are carrying out a salvage operation following a fire which wrecked their home, only two weeks after they moved in.

A SUFFOLK family are carrying out a salvage operation today following a fire which wrecked their home, only two weeks after they moved in.

The blaze in Haughley broke out at about 9.30am yesterday. Devastated couple Dean and Wendy Merchant have lost most of their belongings, including furniture and clothes, plus their five-year-old daughter's birthday presents.

Mr and Mrs Merchant were out of their home at the time of the blaze and had taken three of their four children, Tara, 13, Anya, nine, and Jessica, five, to school, leaving a painter decorating outside.

It is believed as he used a blow torch on their home in Fishponds Way a spark caused the fascia boards to catch fire.

Mrs Merchant said: "He had started doing next door when he realised there was smoke coming from our house. Our neighbour immediately called the fire brigade."

Mr and Mrs Merchant returned to their home shortly after 11.30am yesterday with their baby Deana, four months, to a scene of devastation.

Mr Merchant said: "As we were coming up the road I thought that had better not be our house.

"My wife's first words were 'it's the painters'."

Seven crews attended the fire and fire fighters tried to save as many items as they could while they fought to bring the blaze under control.

Mrs Merchant said: "I'd like to thank them for everything they did.

"We have lost a lot through the fire and smoke or water damage. But if we had unpacked everything it would have been a lot worse … we still had a lot of personal possessions in boxes."

The family are heartbroken that the home they moved into only two weeks ago is so badly damaged. The are currently living with family but are due to move into temporary accommodation at the weekend.

Mr Merchant said: "We wanted an old house to do up to get it looking how we wanted it.

"We'd just started stripping walls and decorating and had had new doors put in only a week or so ago."

Mrs Merchant added: "It's still unbelievable, we're gutted, I cannot believe it has happened."

However they are looking on the bright side and are thankful that no one was at home when the fire broke out.

Mr Merchant said: "It's bad enough just thinking about it."

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