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Flames rip through holiday home as man and four dogs escape

PUBLISHED: 15:57 22 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:14 22 February 2020

David Wixey (right, in blue coat) looks on as firefighters work to dampen down flames at his West Runton home.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

David Wixey (right, in blue coat) looks on as firefighters work to dampen down flames at his West Runton home. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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A builder stood in his front garden and watched in shock as firefighters from five north Norfolk stations battled the flames pouring from the roof of his newly-renovated home.

Firefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFirefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

David Wixey, from Leicester, was sitting relaxing in the living room of his West Runton holiday home with his four dogs on Friday when a smoke alarm alerted him to the fire just before 7pm.

"I went upstairs to have a look and realised when I saw the thick smoke that the hobby room in the loft was on fire, so I called 999 straight away," he said. "I thought 'right, that's it, I'd better get out' - my first thought was for the dogs, so I quickly got them into my van."

Firefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFirefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Mr Wixey, who works in north Norfolk three days a week and spends the rest of his time at his home in Leicester, bought the two storey detached house, on Cromer Road, seven years ago and has since spent many hours lovingly renovating it.

He said the fire, which destroyed the roof, caused extensive damage to first floor and severe smoke and water damage downstairs, had probably been started by sparks from a woodburning stove.

David Wixey (right, in blue coat) looks on as firefighters work to dampen down flames at his West Runton home.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLDavid Wixey (right, in blue coat) looks on as firefighters work to dampen down flames at his West Runton home. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Although upset, he was philosophical about losing his much-loved bolt-hole and praised fire crews who, he said, had "done the best they could with the resources they had".

"The first thing I always do in any house is to put smoke alarms in and as long as nobody was hurt, that's all that matters.

Firefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFirefighters work to dampen down flames at David Wixey's West Runton home. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"Whether the house is demolished or renovated, it will be rebuilt one way or another so I'm not too worried and it certainly won't put me off West Runton, I've been coming here for 50 years and you can't beat the quietness of it."

Incident commander John Baker said appliances from Sheringham and Cromer were first on the scene, with others from North Walsham, Holt and Fakenham following shortly afterwards.

A fire broke out at a home in West Runton. Picture: Clare PerkinsA fire broke out at a home in West Runton. Picture: Clare Perkins

"We also had a water carrier from Fakenham and the crews were able to knock the fire back with the main jets and bring it under control in around 45 minutes," he added.

Smoke and sparks continued to escape from the roof after the fire had been put out, but an aerial ladder platform sent from Earlham enabled firefighters to get above the building and damp down any hotspots.

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