Homeowner’s lucky escape after fire at thatched house in Great Hockham

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant

A homeowner who saw his thatched cottage go up in flames eight years ago is thankful another fire at his property did not end the same way.

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant

Ten fire crews were called to the property in The Green, Great Hockham after a spark from the chimney started a fire.

The quick-thinking owner rushed outside to fetch a garden hose and douse the fire before it spread.

In 2008 the owner, who did not want to be named, said a much larger blaze had taken hold and burnt a giant hole in the centre of his roof, causing him to lose most of his possessions.

Fortunately the fire, which began at around 4.15pm yesterday, was much less serious.

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark

Fire crews on the scene of a fire at a thatched house in Great Hockham. Picture by Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant


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The owner said a spark from the chimney had ignited a fire around four inches square.

'The spark came out and up it went. I got a particularly long garden hose out and covered it in water and that seemed to put it out. Almost straight away it started smouldering.'

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He said a previous fire in 2008, which destroyed much of the barley straw and Norfolk reed roof, also uncovered some hidden asbestos in the roof structure.

'It was a much bigger fire. We had a big patch in the middle of the thatch which was glowing red.

'They used new technology to put that out. The fire sergeant said of all the thatch fires he had fought, it was only the fourth which had been put out.

'The asbestos caused more problems and costs than any of the thatch damage. All my possessions were lost – anything material, like carpets, curtains and clothing, went.

'This is just an easy job. I will get my thatcher round and it will get done, hopefully before Christmas.'

Appliances from East Harling, Thetford, Attleborough, Dereham, Wymondham, Earlham, Watton, Hethersett, Fakenham and Methwold attended the scene with an ambulance crew and police.

Two fire crews were still on scene after 6pm last night to check for hot spots in danger of reigniting.

Thetford station manager Luke Hancock said: 'We caught this fire early and used quite aggressive technology to cut it out.

'Because it was a new thatch, it was less dry and tinder-like.

'It was a good call by the team, who used a compressed air foam system (CAFS) to tackle the fire.'

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