Massive reed bed destroyed

FIREFIGHTERS have today been praised for containing a dry reed fire before it endangered lives.The flames were shielded by high woodland, preventing access from Whitland Close, Ipswich, so the crew had to beat them down by hand.

FIREFIGHTERS have today been praised for containing a dry reed fire before it endangered lives.

The flames were shielded by high woodland, preventing access from Whitland Close, Ipswich, so the crew had to beat them down by hand.

Nine firefighters with beaters surrounded the blaze, which licked up against the trees and threatened houses, and quelled it in time.

Onlooking residents who lived by the area next to the Belstead Brook, feared the flames might spiral out of control and attack their back gardens.

Beverley Hutchison, of Whitland Close, said: "I went outside and there was all this black smoke. I heard a siren and people were saying there was a fire over the woods. I looked again and there were some really high flames out the back of our house.

"We thought we would have to get out of the house, but they got it under control. They did a really good job."

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The incident took place at 7pm last night after a day of hot weather, which is believed to have ignited the straw-like reeds.

Ensuing flames destroyed a patch of land the size of two football pitches.

Sub fire officer Andy Clark, who was first on the scene, said: "It was difficult to get access to it, but once we had sufficient manpower we got round it and stopped it spreading.

"It was a case of protecting the woodland. There was a possibility it could have spread because of the wind direction.

"If it had spread to the trees, it could have caused a lot more damage."

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