A boat-owning couple have been left homeless after their vessel was destroyed by fire on the Broads.

Firefighters tackling the blaze on the Sutton Staithe broad. Picture: MILES WESTON

Firefighters tackling the blaze on the Sutton Staithe broad. Picture: MILES WESTON - Credit: Archant

A boat-owning couple have been left homeless after their vessel was destroyed by fire on the Broads.

The Sutton Staithe before it was damaged in a fire. Picture: SUBMITTED

The Sutton Staithe before it was damaged in a fire. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

The blaze happened at Sutton Staithe on Sunday morning just after 9.30am and the couple were not on board at the time.

William Emmerson, 26, and Gillian Haslam, 39, had bought the burnt out 45ft Forester boat just over a month ago.

The unemployed couple had moored up at Sutton Staithe four days before the fire.

Despite wanting to restore the boat, Mr Emmerson was due to show it to a couple interested in buying it on the day of the accident.


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He would have spent the sale money on a smaller boat to live in.

Mr Emmerson, who recently lived in Carlisle, said: 'I went running up to the boat to see if I could salvage something but it was thick with smoke and I couldn't get anywhere near it. I was in tears at the time.'

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He was worried about the gas bottle and two fuel tanks on board, which were removed.

Mr Emmerson described the 'brilliant' fibreglass and wood boat, built in the late 1960s, as characterful which was why he was in two minds about selling it.

The couple are now staying at a friend's flat and only have the clothes they were wearing on the day of the fire and their mobile phones.

Mr Emmerson also lost his wallet in the blaze.

They have a 17ft boat which Mr Emmerson described as a shell. It needs major repairs and the couple are appealing for plywood offcuts and bedding.

Mr Emmerson praised the kindness of strangers who responded to their call for help on Facebook. They have so far received a camping gas stove and crockery.

If you want to help message Gillian Haslam or Mr Emmerson on Facebook, who uses the name Jo Ck.

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