Heartbreak for Copdock homeowner

A COPDOCK homeowner is today faced with repairing the ruins of his home after fire tore through the ground floor.Thirty firefighters battled to prevent the blaze spreading from the semi-detached house Bob Pratt has lived in all his life to the adjoining property in Old London Road owned by neighbours Darren and Jane Barton.

A COPDOCK homeowner is today faced with repairing the ruins of his home after fire tore through the ground floor.

Thirty firefighters battled to prevent the blaze spreading from the semi-detached house Bob Pratt has lived in all his life to the adjoining property in Old London Road owned by neighbours Darren and Jane Barton.

Mrs Barton, 40, said: “We are really devastated for Bob, because he's lost everything, but the main thing is no one was hurt.”

Mr and Mrs Barton were forced to evacuate their home, along with their daughter, Alex, six, and son Thomas, four, along with a friend who had come round for a meal.

Mr Barton, 37, said: “We were in the kitchen and had somebody round for a meal. They went into the utility room and smoke was coming through. At first we thought it was ours. My wife called for a fire engine.

“You could see the smoke billowing out (of Mr Pratt's home). It was everywhere. You could see orange everywhere.

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“The firefighters were excellent and we are thankful to them.”

Although Mr Barton said his family's home smelled of smoke, he did not believe there was any damage to the property they have lived in for 11 years.

Mr Pratt's brother-in-law, who did not wish to be named, was surveying the damage yesterday morning.

He described Mr Pratt - who in his 60s, but was not at home when the fire began at 9.45pm on Saturday - as “very upset”.

He said the damage was quite extensive, but Mr Pratt planned carry on living there.

Although the blaze broke out in his utility room, firefighters' efforts to extinguish it were hampered by a huge pile of newspapers, said to be about around five feet high and five feet wide, which had caught alight in the front room.

Dave Edwards, a sub officer for Suffolk Fire Service, said: “It was a well developed fire on the ground floor. It was quite intense. The flames covered the whole of the ground floor and all the windows had gone. No one was committed into the building due to it being unsafe structurally.

“Due to the action taken early on, the fire was prevented from spreading.”

Although they managed to contain the flames, the upstairs of Mr Pratt's property was also smoke-damaged.

Mr Edwards said it took around an hour-and-a half for the blaze to be put out. As a precaution firefighters remained at the house overnight and into yesterday morning to ensure it did not re-ignite.

Elsewhere, firefighters tackled a car fire in Newbourne Road, Waldringfield at 5.11am yesterday and had to put out three wheelie bins which were alight at County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds less than an hour later.

Just before 12.30pm on Saturday fire crews were also called to extinguish a cooker fire at The Grovesnor in Ranelagh Road, Felixstowe.