TV star's home fire drama

A TELEVISION star has told how he was beaten back by smoke and flames as a huge fire ripped through his idyllic country home.Five fire crews managed to save Peter Purves' Grade II Georgian house at Sibton, near Peasenhall, after a severe blaze broke out yesterdayjust before 12.

A TELEVISION star has told how he was beaten back by smoke and flames as a huge fire ripped through his idyllic country home.

Five fire crews managed to save Peter Purves' Grade II Georgian house at Sibton, near Peasenhall, after a severe blaze broke out yesterday

just before 12.40pm. But the annexe where his mother-in-law lives was badly damaged.

The BBC television broadcaster and trainer, who became a household name in the BBC flagship children's programme Blue Peter, has lived in the house for four and a half years.

He said: "I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. My mother-in-law told me her bedroom was on fire. We don't know why it started or where it started.

"I ran in there and got beaten back by the heat and the smoke and said: 'Right, fire brigade, immediately'," he said.

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He admitted feeling "very stupid" when confronted by such a big blaze. He closed doors to help contain it.

"It's the first time I have ever had a fire," he said.

Much of his mother-in-law's belongings were destroyed, and other parts of the house suffered smoke damage.

Firefighters arrived within minutes and fought to contain the blaze in the back annexe area. Although its roof was destroyed and the interiors below, the rest of the house escaped relatively unscathed.

The blaze was under control at 2.14pm although crews stayed on to damp down.

"Another few minutes and I think it would have been a severe problem. This house has massive attics," said Mr Purves.

Assistant Divisional Officer John Tiffen,of Suffolk Fire Service said it was a "severe" fire which started in the first floor bedroom of the annexe, but it was unclear yet how it had started. The cause was under investigation.

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