Plucky pensioner fights fire

WHEN soot from an open fire first caught alight plucky pensioner Ivan Burrows thought he could handle the situation by himself.But six hours later the 77-year-old admitted defeat after the whole of his downstairs filled up with smoke and the heat reached 100C - the same temperature that water boils at.

WHEN soot from an open fire first caught alight plucky pensioner Ivan Burrows thought he could handle the situation by himself.

But six hours later the 77-year-old admitted defeat after the whole of his downstairs filled up with smoke and the heat reached 100C - the same temperature that water boils at.

It took firefighters three hours to tackle the flames from Mr Burrows' house, in Chantry Green, and one of them said it was the worst chimney fire he had ever seen.

Mr Burrows today admits he has had a lucky escape and said in hindsight he should have called the fire brigade earlier.

But the 77-year-old said it has not put him off using open fires and he will do so again just as soon as his chimney has gone through health and safety checks.

Mr Burrows said: “It was Sunday afternoon and I started up the fire because it was a bit cold. It is nothing unusual. I have lived here 52 years and always had open fires.

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“But some of the soot fell down and caught alight. At first I thought it would burn itself out but more and more started to fall.

“It was all piling up in the fireplace and that did worry me a bit.”

However, as Mr Burrows went to cook his tea the fire looked as if it had calmed down a bit and so he decided not to worry.

He said: “Then it started roaring and got really fierce. I started throwing water on it and the room filled up with smoke and I couldn't see.

“That's when I called the fire brigade and was told it was the worst chimney fire they had ever seen.”

The fire started getting out of control at 3pm and the fire crews were called at 9pm.

Firefighter Alex Smith, who was one of those who attended the fire, said: “We used thermal equipment which registered the fire at 100C.

“We spent three hours putting the fire out and we were told it had been on fire for a long time before we were called.

“The gentleman concerned didn't want to hassle us and thought he could control the situation.

“Our advice would be not to hesitate to contact us if a fire is out of control.

“We would rather be called out than risk the whole house going up.”

N Has your open fire ever got out of control? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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