Ipswich: Drugs found in blaze house

IPSWICH: Neighbours told of their shock after thick black smoke filled the air during a blaze which wrecked a house.

Fire tore through the rear bedroom of a home in the town’s Willowcroft Road, with the flames taking hold of a mattress, causing extensive smoke damage.

A man was later arrested at the scene on suspicion of possessing cannabis and crack cocaine after firefighters allegedly discovered drugs while battling the inferno. Today he was released on bail pending further enquiries. He is due to return to Ipswich Police station on February 28.

Initially, one crew was sent to the blaze at about 9.15am yesterday. However, as firefighters approached the scene, which was shadowed by thick black smoke, they requested further assistance and two more pumps rushed to assist.

The fire was found at the rear bedroom of the two-storey terrace house, with a 19-year-old man suffering minor burns to his hands and feet.

Having also suffered from smoke inhalation, he was assessed by paramedics at the scene, but was not taken to hospital. Crews tackled the flames by 9.50am.

Due to the sheer amount of smoke, they remained at the scene to inspect the loft for further hot spots.

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Dale Mason, crew manager for the fire service, said that the blaze had caused substantial damage.

He added: “When we arrived at the scene the smoke was so thick that we couldn’t see the road.”

Neighbours told the Evening Star that they watched on as the resident and a dog, named Leo, walked out of the house.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I woke up and couldn’t see out of my bedroom because the smoke was so thick.”

Another said: “The smoke was so thick and black – it completely filled the air. It was a shock to see the fire engines here and we were even more surprised when we saw three along the road.”

A police spokeswoman said: “A 19-year-old man from Ipswich was taken into custody on suspicion of possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and cannabis.

“He has been released on bail pending further enquiries.”

Police were initially alerted to the incident as the blaze was believed to be suspicious. However, on arrival it was found to accidental.

But firefighters alerted officers after claiming they found drugs within the home.

Police say cannabis, crack cocaine, a quantity of money and mobile phones were seized.

n Did you witness the drama? Telephone the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788.