Couple's home is ravaged by blaze

A couple have been left distraught after their picturebook thatched cottage was gutted by fire just a week before Christmas. Dozens of firefighters desperately tried to help the pair salvage their personal belongings after the blaze broke out in the Grade II listed property in Old Norwich Road, Yaxley, near Eye, shortly after 8pm on Tuesday.

A couple have been left distraught after their picturebook thatched cottage was gutted by fire just a week before Christmas.

Dozens of firefighters desperately tried to help the pair salvage their personal belongings after the blaze broke out in the Grade II listed property in Old Norwich Road, Yaxley, near Eye, shortly after 8pm on Tuesday.

Yesterday, smoke continued to billow out of the crumbling shell of the property as firefighters battled to make the structure safe.

It is understood that the property's owners, a husband and wife, who were yesterday too upset to speak, were inside when the fire began and were alerted to the blaze by a passer-by.


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Andy Nunn, assistant divisional officer at Bury St Edmunds, said: "We believe the fire had been going for some time before it was noticed by somebody walking past who then raised the alarm."

Mr Nunn said that about 50 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at its height and added: "When it became clear that the thatch could not be saved the emphasis moved to salvaging as many of the couple's personal possessions as possible before the building became unsafe.

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"The crews worked very hard and managed to get an awful lot of their possessions out and these are now being stored in another building. The crews also looked for any Christmas presents but they didn't find any that were burnt or any that were inside the property.

"The lady was absolutely distraught and was treated for smoke inhalation, but thankfully no one was hurt."

Nine fire appliances were called to the property including crews from Eye, Stradbroke, Diss, Harleston, Debenham, and the turntable ladder from Suffolk Fire Service's headquarters in Ipswich.

Mr Nunn said that while the fire had caused extensive damage to the building, the first floor and ground floor were still fairly intact and it may be possible to rebuild.

"We will probably take away the chimney and gable end and leave the first floor," he said. "Hopefully from there they might be able to rebuild the rest of the property. The couple's insurers and English Heritage have been informed and are on their way. We will probably be here for the rest of the day stripping down the structure to make it safe and checking for hot spots."

Mr Nunn said that an investigation had begun into the cause of the blaze but that it wasn't being treated as suspicious.

He said the couple had been to look at a rented property and that friends had also offered them somewhere to stay.

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