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Photos reveal devastation to beautiful thatched farmhouse following fire at Oakley

PUBLISHED: 14:52 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:31 07 April 2016

Firefighters tackle the devastating house fire in Low Street Oakley near Diss.
An outside wall collapses.

Firefighters tackle the devastating house fire in Low Street Oakley near Diss. An outside wall collapses.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

An investigation has taken place into how a 15th century thatched farmhouse caught fire in Oakley, near Diss yesterday.

The house in Lower Road Oakley near Diss as it looked before the fire. Image: Google StreetviewThe house in Lower Road Oakley near Diss as it looked before the fire. Image: Google Streetview

Colin Hitchman, the owner of the Grade II house, said he saw a wisp of smoke rising above the thatched roof at around 11am.

He called emergency services but within minutes the thatch was well alight.

With the help of firefighters, he was able to rescue some of his personal items but fire chiefs said a combination of wind and dry thatch meant the fire quickly swept through the house Mr Hitchman had shared with his wife Bridget for nearly 40 years.

A total of 12 crews - 50 firefighters - tackled the blaze but despite their best efforts, the house collapsed.

Two crews remained on the scene until late last night.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service have undertaken an investigation into what caused the fire.

Firefighters tackle the devastating house fire in Low Street Oakley near Diss.
An outside wall collapses.Firefighters tackle the devastating house fire in Low Street Oakley near Diss. An outside wall collapses.

A security fence has been placed around the house.

Thatched roof fires

•More than 90pc of fires in thatched roofs start as a result of a faulty flue or chimney.

•Thatch is designed to repel water which makes it different to extinguish

•Owners are recommended to have the chimney swept regularly by a sweep – twice a year if used a lot.

•Bonfires nearby should be restricted and heat sensors installed near the chimney


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