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Man escapes as fire destroys first floor of flat

PUBLISHED: 11:29 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:13 15 January 2020

Emergency services attended the scene of a house fire in St Andrews Street North in Bury St Edmunds  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Emergency services attended the scene of a house fire in St Andrews Street North in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A man was treated for smoke inhalation after trying to tackle a fire in his Bury St Edmunds town centre flat.

The blaze gutted the first floor of the two storey flat above the Karma tattoo parlour in St Andrew's Street North, and caused heat and smoke damage to the second.

Suffolk fire service said the single occupant woke up as the fire took hold and after a brief attempt at extinguishing the flames he escaped.

Station Commander Henry Griffin of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said the man was given oxygen at the scene by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment.

Mr Griffin said crews from Bury St Edmunds, Ixworth and Elmswell were sent to the fire, which broke out at around 5.50am today (Wednesday January 15).

The fire gutted the first floor of the flat and damaged the second Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe fire gutted the first floor of the flat and damaged the second Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Thick smoke which had collected in the street outside was spotted by a passer-by who called 999.

"On arrival the crews were met with a well-developed fire in a row of terraced buildings," Mr Griffin said.

"The occupant had tried to tackle the fire himself but quickly realised it was too big for him to deal with by himself and he escaped.

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"All occupants were quickly accounted for and the fire was contained to a single part of the property above the shop.

"The first floor of the flat was damaged by fire, which was in the kitchen, while heat and smoke affected the second floor."

Suffolk police closed off the road as firefighters tackled the blaze but it was reopened shortly after 8am.

Mr Griffin said the cause of the fire was still being investigated, but he praised the flat occupant for having a working smoke alarm.

"Our intervention prevented the fire from escalating and had we not done so it would certainly have spread. The first floor was gutted," he said.

"We're not sure whether he was woken by the fire itself or by the smoke alarm, but the fact the alarm was working means it would certainly have assisted.

"Having a working smoke alarm is so important. We would advise everyone to check they are working, or to invest in one.

"We would also recommend people prepare an escape plan for situations such as this, which is something we are happy to advise them on."

For more details on escape plans or fire safety go to the Suffolk fire service website.

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