Woman escapes caravan blaze

A WOMAN was lucky to escape uninjured today after a second caravan was destroyed in a blaze in Suffolk in less than a week.Meanwhile, travellers are set to be the focus of a fire safety campaign following the death of two young brothers in a caravan in Ipswich.

A WOMAN was lucky to escape uninjured today after a second caravan was destroyed in a blaze in Suffolk in less than a week.

Meanwhile, travellers are set to be the focus of a fire safety campaign following the death of two young brothers in a caravan in Ipswich.

The latest fire happened just after 9am today when two fire crews were called to the Suffolk Sands holiday park in Carr Road, Felixstowe.

A woman was asleep in a static van, where she lives, when she was awoken by the sound of crackling flames and immediately got up and ran outside.

Watch manager Phil Geeson said the fire was extremely fierce and destroyed the caravan within minutes.

"The woman was very lucky to escape from this - she was just starting to wake up and heard the sound of the fire. She had a smoke alarm but it was not working and if this had been the middle of the night, and she had been sound asleep it could have been a very different situation," he said.

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The woman, who has not been named, was not injured but was left distressed and shaken and was being today comforted by friends in Felixstowe.

Mr Geeson stressed the importance of having a smoke alarm and maintaining it, ensuring it had a working battery and checking it every week. Fire crews in Felixstowe fit smoke alarms for free and have fitted 70 at properties in the past two weeks.

Travellers are also being urged to take on board smoke alarms and other fire prevention methods as essential for those living in caravans in a new safety drive following the deaths of Rodney Smith, 11, and his three-year-old brother Ben.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said following the deadly blaze information would be provided to residents at the site on measures they could take to reduce the risk of fire.

He said: "It's about reinforcing the safety messages. It's also about checking whether people have got the safeguards in place that we expect."

Ipswich Borough Council manages the 42-plot site and imposes strict fire safety regulations, including requirements that fire-fighting equipment provided is not tampered with and the council retains the power to terminate a licence to reside at the site if equipment is interfered with or removed.

Mike Grimwood, service manager within environmental health at Ipswich Borough Council, said each resident has immediate access to fire-fighting equipment along with water taps, which are provided to each amenity block. An inspection after the fire revealed all fire extinguishers were in place.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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Rodney and Ben died when a fire engulfed the caravan they were in at West Meadows travellers' site in Bury Road, Ipswich.

Their nine-year-old brother escaped the flames, which broke out just before midnight on Saturday .

An investigation is under way into the cause of the fire but it is not being treated as suspicious.

It is believed the investigation currently centres around a heater which was in the caravan.

It is not yet clear whether the caravan had a working smoke alarm.

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