‘He saved our house and possibly our lives’ – Fire couple appeal for help in tracing mystery cyclist

Adrian and Sally Murphy at their home in Stoke Holy Cross, and fire-damaged possessions rescued from the loft. Photo: Bill Smith Adrian and Sally Murphy at their home in Stoke Holy Cross, and fire-damaged possessions rescued from the loft. Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
8:38 AM

A couple whose house caught fire are appealing for help to trace a cyclist who raised the alarm, saving their home – and possibly their lives.

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Adrian and Sally Murphy at their home in Stoke Holy Cross, and fire-damaged possessions rescued from the loft. Photo: Bill SmithAdrian and Sally Murphy at their home in Stoke Holy Cross, and fire-damaged possessions rescued from the loft. Photo: Bill Smith

Sally and Adrian Murphy were at home when the fire broke out in their loft but did not realise that thick black smoke was billowing from their roof until they were alerted by a passing cyclist.

In the chaos that followed the kindly cyclist went on his way again, but now the Stoke Holy Cross couple want to thank the man they credit with preventing the fire turning to tragedy.

Mrs Murphy said: “He saved our house and possibly our lives and he was gone before we could say thank you.

“We were extremely lucky not to lose the house, and we’d like to say thank you because it could have been so much worse.”

Fire crews from Carrow, Sprowston, Earlham and Long Stratton attended the blaze on Poringland Road after being called at 12.35 on Sunday. Insulation helped to contain the fire to the loft, but other parts of the house suffered smoke damage.

Mrs Murphy, a teacher, said the smoke detectors in the house didn’t go off because the fire was in the loft, and the smoke was rising.

“I was showering and my husband was gardening when the lights tripped.

“He was sorting it out, and as he came downstairs the cyclist stopped to say there was smoke pouring from the vents in our roof, which we were totally unaware of.

“He said: ‘Get out, it’s a fire - there’s smoke absolutely billowing out of the vents’.”

She added: “Words can’t express how grateful we are. We could have lost our lovely house and possibly our lives. We were all in shock afterwards and didn’t have the chance to say thank you.”

In the blur of events as fire engine arrived, Mrs Murphy said she and her husband had no time to speak to the cyclist or remember a description – only that he was a man in cycling clothing.

Fire investigators are still looking into the cause of the blaze, and the results have not yet been released.

A spokesman said the service advised fitting smoke alarms wherever possible in the home, including loft areas and those out of everyday use.

More safety advice is also available at the fire service website here.

Do you know the cyclist? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772423.

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