Firefighters continue monitoring home hours after thatched roof burst into flames at Pilson Green, near South Walsham

Firefighters remain on scene after house fire at Pilson Green, near South Walsham. Picture: Donna-Lo

Firefighters remain on scene after house fire at Pilson Green, near South Walsham. Picture: Donna-Louise Bishop - Credit: Archant

An elderly couple were forced to flee their home after its thatched roof burst into flames.

Firefighters remain on scene after elderly couple were forced to flee home after thatched roof burst

Firefighters remain on scene after elderly couple were forced to flee home after thatched roof burst into flames at Pilson Green, near South Walsham. Picture: Donna-Louise Bishop - Credit: Archant

However, firefighters were able to help them rescue some photographs and antiques, as well as their pet cat, before they were destroyed in the late-night drama.

The fire broke out at the property in Pilson Green, near South Walsham, shortly before 9.30pm yesterday (Sunday).

Crews from Acle, Carrow, Wroxham, Sprowston, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Wymondham and Hethersett rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised.

They had to isolate the high voltage power supply to the house and worked through the night to put out the blaze.

The extent of the damage caused by the blaze was clear this morning.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in a thatched property at Pilson Green. Picture: Luke Powell

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in a thatched property at Pilson Green. Picture: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

All of the main roof had collapsed with only a small amount of its material remaining. A few tiles also remained in other sections while the ground floor sustained severe water damage.

Most Read

Two appliances, with 12 firefighters, were still on scene at 9am today while they continued to monitor and check for hotspots. At least one crew is believed to still be on scene.

Watch manager Mark Wilson said between eight to 10 appliances attended the blaze, with around 50 to 60 firefighters.

'The roof and first floor are completely damaged while the ground floor is heavily water damaged, he said.

'There is such devastation when this type of fire happens.'

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in a thatched property at Pilson Green. Picture: Luke Powell

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in a thatched property at Pilson Green. Picture: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

Rupert Holmes, 37, from Norwich, revealed his parents, who have lived in the property for 36 years, were at home when the fire broke out.

However, he said Colin, who is in his 70s, and Lynda, who is in her 60s, had escaped unhurt.

Praising the response from the emergency services, Rupert, who had been round for dinner the night of the fire, said: 'I got a call from dad saying the house is on fire. But he said: 'Don't bother coming, there is nothing you can do.'

'I wasn't going to stay at home, so I drove over from Norwich. They were all okay and the fire service has been phenomenal. They managed to get a lot of possessions out of the house.'

But he added: 'We have no idea how it started at this point. Mum went upstairs and the upstairs rooms were very warm. She then went outside and realised part of the thatch was on fire and called the fire brigade.'

Incident commander Richard Herrell said firefighters carried out a rapid salvage operation and managed to save a lot of the contents before they had to be withdrawn.

Crews used water from a nearby broad to extinguish the flames.

But Mr Herrell said the rural location and single track lane leading to the house made it difficult to get vehicles close to the property. The road is currently blocked but traffic is still able to get through via a diversion.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and builders attended this morning to assess the damage.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter