An investigation has been launched into the cause of a blaze which tore through two timber frame homes near King’s Lynn last night (Monday).

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The fire started downstairs at a semi-detached house in Clapper Lane, Clenchwarton, just before 10.30pm and quickly spread to the neighbouring property where Arthur Coates, his wife Suzi and their three children live.

Around 40 firefighters from across Norfolk rushed to the scene with police and paramedics, but nothing could be done to save the first house.

The Coates’ home suffered severe damage and many of the family’s possessions have been lost.

“If the fire had been an hour later, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” Mr Coates said. “We would have been asleep and the smoke would have got us.”

Mrs Coates was taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn suffering from smoke inhalation.

Their neighbour, a man thought to be in his 40s, was hurt when he jumped from a first-floor window around the back of the house and was kept in hospital overnight.

“He thought his wife was inside and couldn’t find her,” Mr Coates said. “She had actually taken the dog for a walk.

“I moved to the house when it was first built in 1947 and my family has lived here ever since.”

The fire was under control within about three hours and crews from Hunstanton and Outwell were still at the scene this morning damping down.

A fire service spokesman said an investigation had been launched, but the blaze was being treated as an accident.

See tomorrow’s Eastern Daily Press for the full story.

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