PlayBOKS team’s father tells of fire drama at Wendling home

The father of the two sisters behind the successful PlayBOKS children's attraction in mid-Norfolk told this afternoon of the fire scare that left the family kitchen blackened by smoke.

Kieran Hughes had been cooking himself an egg and chips lunch before getting on with the mowing in the family's seven acres of smallholding and lawns in Hulver Street, Wendling, just off the old A47 between Dereham and Swaffham.

He said he put the chips in oil to cook but got diverted starting up the lawn mower outside, and because of the noise of the machine he did not hear the fire alarm sounding.

The drama unfolded in the early afternoon today. Two crews of firefighters were called to the scene just before 2.20pm. They used breathing apparatus to enter the kitchen and a thermal image camera to check for hot-spots once the fire was safely out.

As he continued clearing up, Mr Hughes recalled how he suddenly realised something was wrong and started back to the kitchen.

He added: 'I could not go in there – it was full of black smoke. I ran into the house to turn the power off and called the fire brigade.

'Luckily, we caught it pretty quickly.'

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Nobody else was at home at the time, and his wife Pam was away in London.

Mr Hughes said he was feeling shocked but was otherwise unscathed.

The PlayBOKS venture is run from a part of the grounds away from the house by Mr Hughes's daughters Sarah and Rachel. They launched it last autumn with the aim of giving children the chance to 'go wild with their imagination'.

Among the attractions is a double-decker bus that they bought on eBay and which has been rejigged to create a space for arts and crafts as well as dancing during parties.

The PlayBOKS team has just been running a busy programme of Easter holiday activities.

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