Father left ‘devastated’ after family home catches fire in south Norfolk

Damage caused by the fire in Forncett St Mary in a converted barn. Photo: Archant

Damage caused by the fire in Forncett St Mary in a converted barn. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

A father-of-two has today given thanks to the firefighters who extinguished a blaze which ripped through the roof of his family home in south Norfolk last night.

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Around 35 firefighters and seven appliances were called to the blaze in High Road, Forncett St Mary, near Long Stratton, last night after a sharp-eyed neighbour dialled 999.

The family, who were eating at a restaurant at the time, rushed back to find firefighters battling the flames.

Home owner John Jarvis, 46, who renovated the 19th century barn 17 years ago, said his family had been left 'devastated' by the damage.

'The firefighters did a good job and they managed to keep the fire contained to the attic,' he said. 'I'm just gutted. This was a dream project when we renovated the barn. It's one of those things you do if given the chance.

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

'The children's rooms have been damaged. Electricals are water damaged and the ceiling has fallen down.'

Despite having five fire alarms, they did not sound until the attic hatch was opened by fire crews.

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Mr Jarvis said: 'In theory, the children could have been up there playing in their rooms. If we had stayed in the house, rather than gone out to eat, we may not have known a fire had broken out up there. In a way we were very lucky.'

Located near to Mark's Vehicle Services, the converted barn is on a single-track country road away from the centre of the village.

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire fighters at a house in Forncett St Mary after a fire in the roof. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Crews fought the fire from outside the house to begin with, and quickly got through all the water on the five standard pumps.

Two special appliances, including the aerial ladder platform, also attended.

A hydrant was located around half-a-mile away, with crews making multiple trips back for more water.

It took around an hour-and-a-half to bring the fire under control and around 10,000 litres of water was used.

Fire appliances in attendance came from Long Stratton, Carrow, Wymondham, Earlham, Hethersett, Attleborough and Acle.

Crews were called at around 6.20pm and were on scene until around 10pm last night. They returned at about 2am this morning and stayed until 4am to observe the fire.

The damage was mostly contained to the loft space, and the family - Mr Jarvis, his partner and their two children, aged 15 and 12 years old - are currently staying with relatives.

Investigators are today back at the scene to establish the cause of the fire.

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