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Firefighters describe difficulties tackling houseboat blaze

PUBLISHED: 23:29 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 23:29 21 December 2018

Firefighters at the scene of the houseboat fire in Woodbridge. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Firefighters at the scene of the houseboat fire in Woodbridge. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Archant

Fire crews have described the cramped conditions and potential danger they faced fighting a fire on an 80ft house boat.

Firefighters at the scene of the houseboat fire in Woodbridge. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDFirefighters at the scene of the houseboat fire in Woodbridge. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Firefighters were called to the blaze on the vessel, moored along the quayside in Woodbridge, by the Tide Mill Living Museum, at 5.48pm this evening (Friday, December 21).

Incident commander Adrian Mason said: “When we arrived it was obvious there was a serious fire in the wheel house.

“This sort of fire can be quite labour intensive so we called for an additional crew to assist while we worked to extinguish the flames.”

Crews from Ipswich East, Princes Street and Woodbridge tackled the blaze, which is believed to have started in a wood burner.

The owner of the boat had divided the space below deck into two living quarters, with the fire believed to have started in the space being used by a lodger.

Firefighters were concerned that the lodger may have suffered smoke inhalation and paramedics were called to the scene.

No-one was taken to hopsital as a result of the fire.

Mr Mason said: “We used two breathing apparatus while putting the fire out.

“The wood panelling on the boat make it a difficult fire to extinguish and the small space in a boat means that movement is quite restricted.

“We are not treating the fire as suspicious,” he added.

Crews finished fighting the fire at 7.46pm.

The area is one of Woodbridge’s most historic and iconic attractions, with records showing there to be a tide mill on the site by the River Deben since 1170.

Restoration work in recent years has brought it back into use as a fully working tide mill, whch the museum says is a “fascinating and remarkable living example of our industrial and cultural heritage”.

Do you have any more information about what has happened? Email us at newsroom@archant.co.uk

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