Massive blaze destroys thatched cottage

Proud homeowners Tom and Maria Price were today left mopping up after a massive blaze destroyed their 18th century north Suffolk thatched cottage.More than 50 firefighters from as far away as Long Stratton and Ipswich were needed to battle the fire at Standwell Cottage in Denham, near Eye, which took hold late on Tuesday.

Proud homeowners Tom and Maria Price were yesterday left mopping up after a massive blaze destroyed their 18th century north Suffolk thatched cottage.

More than 50 firefighters from as far away as Long Stratton and Ipswich were needed to battle the fire at Standwell Cottage in Denham, near Eye, which took hold late yesterday.

Last night the chimney stack on the cottage was left exposed and dangerously unstable with firefighters having removed as much of the thatched roof as possible to battle the blaze and salvage the couple's possessions.

The top floor of the two-storey cottage was destroyed, though an all-night effort by fire crews prevented too much damage from being done to the ground floor, where the couple had been watching television.

Mr Price, 60, said he and his wife had lived in the cottage for 18 months and had spent their savings on it.

"It was about 9.30pm when a man knocked on the door and said 'I think your roof is alight'," he said. "I called the fire brigade and they were here within five minutes.

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"We are just gutted because we've just got the house as it should be, with all the exposed beams, and now it has gone. At least my wife and me are ok. I am just grateful we have got insurance."

It is believed the fire took hold close to the chimney stack, and was caused by radiated heat from the wood-burning stove.