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Ipswich: Cup of tea saved shed owner's life, he reveals in aftermath of explosion

PUBLISHED: 09:31 30 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:31 30 March 2013

The scene of a shed fire in Bixley Road, Ipswich.

The scene of a shed fire in Bixley Road, Ipswich.

Archant

A MAN last night spoke of his lucky escape after his shed he was working in exploded into flames - just minutes after he had gone inside to make a cup of tea.

Nigel Todd, of Bixley Road, Ipswich, spent yesterday morning restoring his classic motorbike worth £1,500 in his shed, sanding the framework of his 1968 blue BSA Bantam.

But just before 11am the furniture restorer cut his hand and went inside to treat it, stopping in the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea.

“I had only been away for about five minutes,” the 59-year-old said.

“I was on the phone to a friend when my neighbour started banging on the front door, frantically shouting ‘Your shed is on fire’.

“I ran to the back of the house and couldn’t believe what I saw. The flames were going through the roof. It was absolutely shocking.

“I’m not sure what would have happened if I was in there. My neighbours said they heard a massive explosion. I had a very lucky escape.”

Three fire crews turned up within five minutes of his neighbours’ call to emergency services. They had doused the flames by 11.35am.

“A fireman told me it was probably the electrical heater that started the fire,” said Mr Todd, who kept methylated spirits and tins of paint in the 20ft by 12ft garden shed.

“The heater is only around three or four years old. I’m not sure how it started but I think either the fuse blew or it had something to do with the spirits mixing with the heat.”

Neighbour Shirley Glazebrook was sat in her back room when the sound of the explosion struck the house.

She said: “I suddenly heard a massive bang. It vibrated the windows. I looked up and his shed was on fire. I couldn’t believe it.

“We ran round and told him and dialled 999. It was really scary. You could feel the heat. I’m still in shock.”

Mr Todd, who lives with wife Yvonne, 53, son Kalvin, 25, and daughter Stephanie, 29, said it would be impossible to restore the bike now.

“I bought it from a friend of mine in Sudbury just before Christmas for £550,” Mr Todd said. “I had spent months gradually doing it up. It was a very nice blue vintage bike – but it’s black now!

“They usually go for around £1,500. I still have the wheels and other parts but I’ve had a little look in the wreckage and there’s no point in trying to salvage anything.

“It’s especially annoying as I had just bought some other spare parts for it, spending about £400. I’m not looking forward to telling the wife!”

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