Owner praises quick-thinking fire crews who prevent ‘catastrophic’ damage to thatched cottage in north Suffolk blaze

Shepherds Lane in Burgate.

Shepherds Lane in Burgate. - Credit: Kieran Lynch

A homeowner's sensible precautions together with fire crews' rapid response helped save a thatched property from 'catastrophic' damage.

The thatched cottage in Burgate, near Diss, is reported to have escaped with relatively minor interior damage after a fire broke out yesterday evening.

One of the owners of the home who wished to remain anonymous thanked fire crews for their quick response.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's station commander Richard Wood said the property owner had put 'fireboard' under the thatch, which helped prevent the more widespread devastation that so often occurs in incidents of this nature. They had also installed smoke alarms in the roof.

Mr Wood has praised the quick response of crews from Eye, Debenham and Diss, who were able to contain the fire before it spread. In all, 12 appliances attended the incident.


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The fire was first reported after the owner noticed the chimney was not drawing air properly and suspected a bird nest was blocking it.

On inspection, he discovered a small fire and tried to tackle it himself.

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The call came in to Suffolk Fire and Rescue at around 7.25pm and the first crews were on the scene within minutes.

'They really did get stuck in to prevent further escalation,' Mr Wood said.

'Although the fire was quite small, it could have quickly spread from being fairly innocuous to involving the whole roof, so the actions of those initial crews were crucial.'

Due to the remote location of the property, in Shepherds Lane off the A143, crews used water from an open source and the carrier from Newmarket was called-in.

The blaze was contained in less than three hours after crews made 'fire breaks' in the thatch surrounding the chimney to prevent its spread.

'For a thatch fire, this was a very good outcome as, relatively speaking, the damage to the roof was minor,' Mr Wood added.

'I'd personally like to thank the crews for their hard work in preventing any further damage. Along with sensible precautions from the homeowner, they have prevented what unfortunately in so many of these incidents is far more catastrophic.'

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