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Woman drags blazing fire to save home

PUBLISHED: 23:03 18 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 March 2010

WITH little thought for her own safety, Suffolk woman Lady Margaret Rhodes dragged a blazing gas fire with her bare hands after her husband called for help.

WITH little thought for her own safety, Suffolk woman Lady Margaret Rhodes dragged a blazing gas fire with her bare hands after her husband called for help.

Clearing the fire debris from her smoke damaged home in Thorpe Morieux, near Lavenham, Lady Margaret told how her 76-year-old husband Sir Peregrine Rhodes cried for help when flames started billowing from a suspected leak in a gas heater in the couple's sitting room at around 10.15am yesterday.

"I managed to pull it through to the kitchen from the sitting room but then the handle dropped off," she said. "I pulled it as far across the kitchen as I could and then got pans of water."

Sir Peregrine grabbed the garden hose to douse the burning heater as Lady Margaret, 61, threw pots of water on the flames but the fire continued to blaze, she said.

"Then I saw the dresser smoking and I doused everything in sight, throwing water over everything."

When the flames refused to abate, a neighbour remembered that a fire extinguisher was housed in the village church and ran to fetch it before managing to put out the flames, she added.

Lady Margaret praised the firefighters who arrived at the couple's Pond House home soon after the emergency call. "They were brilliant," she said. "I was amazed, they came straight away."

Fire crews from Melford and Stowmarket pulled the gas heater from the heavily smoke-logged house to cool and then aired the property.

Ambulance crew also attended the scene, giving oxygen to Lady Margaret, her husband and a man who had helped put out the blaze. None of the three needed hospital treatment however.

Suffolk firefighters were also called to a fire in a derelict building on Thingoe Hill, Bury St Edmunds, at around noon yesterday.

The ground floor blaze was under control within ten minutes of the emergency call.

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