December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Sam Russell
Friday, October 4, 2013
A man lost his father’s ashes when a bonfire spiralled out of control and destroyed three garden buildings.
Peter Kirkpatrick, 58, was burning paperwork in his Ormesby garden when he popped inside to make a drink and use the loo.
He thought the fire had died down, but before he could return to his purpose-built incinerator a neighbour banged on his window.
“It was all on fire,” said Mr Kirkpatrick, who works as a council officer. “The flames were going straight up.
“They were hitting about 20ft and it spread literally within minutes.
“It’s just total devastation. Everything’s completely gone.”
The blaze took hold of his shed, summer house and greenhouse at the foot of his garden in Beck Avenue, some 30ft from his bungalow last Sunday.
And among the items inside the shed were the ashes of his father Kenneth, who died in 1999.
“The ironic thing is about two days before I had put the ashes of my dead father in there,” he added. “The poor chap has been cremated twice.”
He also lost his father’s army memorabilia, his bikes, tools, garden furniture and bric-a-brac including beer-making equipment.
“There’s nothing of fantastic value individually but collectively it’s your life,” said Mr Kirkpatrick. “I’m waiting now for an insurance assessor to come along.
“I can’t explain it to them over the phone, as until you start sifting through it’s hard to tell how much is there.
“If someone asked for a ball park figure I couldn’t do it.”
Appliances from Great Yarmouth and Martham attended the incident just after 9pm on Sunday, and it took around two hours to dampen it down completely.
Mr Kirkpatrick’s neighbours were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.
“Had the brigade not been so prompt then possible it could have been an even worse case scenario,” he added.
He was shocked at how quickly the flames engulfed the garden buildings, which are now a charred pile of his belongings.
“My lounge faces the front so I couldn’t see it,” he explained. “I had gone in to use the loo and make a drink.
“I hadn’t been in for long.”
And he warned people never to leave a bonfire unattended.
“It’s so scary,” he said. “I was totally devastated.
“I couldn’t even stay in the house that night. If it was your house it must be a million miles worse.”
Mr Kirkpatrick has hailed firefighters from blue watch at Yarmouth and the Martham crew for their efforts.
A spokesman for Norfolk police said officers attended, but the fire is not being treated as suspicious.