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Pensioner suffers second blow at home

PUBLISHED: 19:30 16 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 March 2010

DOWN on his luck pensioner John Howard saw flames rip through his Sudbury home today just over one year after a lorry smashed into it.

The 71-year-old of Second Avenue escaped unharmed from today's blaze, but saw thousands of pounds worth of damage done to the first floor of his three bedroom terraced house.

DOWN on his luck pensioner John Howard saw flames rip through his Sudbury home today just over one year after a lorry smashed into it.

The 71-year-old of Second Avenue escaped unharmed from today's blaze, but saw thousands of pounds worth of damage done to the first floor of his three bedroom terraced house.

A fire took hold in an airing cupboard at around 7am today and quickly spread to the bathroom, causing the water tank to burst.

Two fire crews from Sudbury attended the fire within minutes but were unable to prevent extensive smoke and heat damage being done to the entire first floor.

Today's incident is just over a year after a lorry piled into the front of Mr Howard's house, damaging the kitchen and its structure.

Mr Howard, who was at home alone at the time of the incident, has lived at is house since 1965. His wife his currently in hospital.

He said: "I can't understand how it's happened – it's so confusing. Having just had one major incident I didn't think I'd get another one so quickly."

Mr Howard smelt smoke at around 7am and immediately investigated its source. He said: "I was about to go shopping when I smelt some smoke, I went upstairs and saw flames coming out of the airing cupboard. It was quite well alight and I quickly shut the door and ran."

He then called the fire brigade, grabbed his two dogs and waited outside for them to arrive.

He was full of praise for the fire fighters and added: "It's lucky I smelt the flames before I left because I hate to think what could have happened if I hadn't been here. The whole row could have gone up."

Mr Howard is now contemplating an insurance claim for the damage to his house which he said is likely to run into thousands of pounds.

Volunteers from the British Red Cross fire victim support service attended the scene to offer help to Mr Howard after the fire.

The flames were brought under control by 8.20am.


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