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Fire in King’s Lynn kills 40 budgerigars

Jamie Walpole with some of the budgies he lost in the fire at his aviary in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris Bishop

Jamie Walpole with some of the budgies he lost in the fire at his aviary in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

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A budgerigar breeder has been left devastated after a fire killed 40 of his birds.

Jamie Walpole inside his devastated aviary in King's Lynn   Picture: Chris BishopJamie Walpole inside his devastated aviary in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Flames spread to the aviary behind Jamie Walpole’s home in King’s Lynn after a neighbour’s shed was set alight.

The blaze, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, is believed to have been caused by a stray firework.

“I had about 50 birds and managed to save 11 but one’s since died,” said Mr Walpole, 41, who lives on Beloe Crescent.

“I’ve been breeding them all my life, my dad got me started when I was a kid.”

Jamie Walpole outside his blackened aviary in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopJamie Walpole outside his blackened aviary in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Mr Walpole tried to fight his way into the cages to rescue all of his birds but was beaten back by the flames.
He said his pets, which were worth around £700, were not insured, adding: “Because I’m not working I can’t afford it.”

Mr Walpole believes a number of fireworks were dumped behind his neighbour’s property shortly after midnight. The fire broke out at around 2.45am on Tuesday.

“Firefighters were here for three hours,” he said. “If it wasn’t for an off-duty police officer warning everyone it could have been all these houses.”
A rocket also landed on a neighbour’s roof, while a number of other fireworks were strewn behind the properties.

First floor window frames of both homes were left scorched by the flames, which Mr Walpole said were as high as the houses at the height of the blaze.

The remains of Jamie Walpole's neighbour's shed, which was set alight by a stray firework. The blaze spread to Mr Walpole's aviary  Picture: Chris BishopThe remains of Jamie Walpole's neighbour's shed, which was set alight by a stray firework. The blaze spread to Mr Walpole's aviary Picture: Chris Bishop

Mr Walpole, who lives at the property with partner Rebecca Hendry, 36 and daughter Adele Rose, seven and 15-year-old son John.

Miss Hendry said: “People say they’re only birds but they’re family at the end of the day, like your dogs or any other pet.”
Surviving birds are now safely in a cage in Mr Walpole’s house. He said they appeared to be preening themselves and recovering from their ordeal.

He also lost valuable fishing tackle in the blaze. His neighbour’s wooden outbuilding, which he had hoped to convert into a home gym, was completely destroyed.

Another neighbour, Jacek Porpbski said: “Firework, it’s stupid, crazy, idiotic.”

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