Thatch fire investigation continues

Fire investigators today said they were keeping an “open mind” into the cause of a thatch blaze that destroyed three homes at a Breckland village.

Fire investigators today said they were keeping an “open mind” into the cause of a thatch blaze that destroyed three homes at a Breckland village.

Forensic scientists and officials from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service returned to The Row, in Weeting, near Brandon, following the incident over the weekend.

Eighty firefighters from ten stations across Norfolk and Suffolk tackled the blaze, which started at about 11.30pm on Easter Sunday at the Peddars Way Housing Association property.

Three tenants were still waiting to be re-homed today following the second major fire at The Row - reputed to be the longest stretch of continuous thatch in the country - in the space of six weeks.

Peter Holliday, group manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said an investigation was set to conclude today .

“We will be doing a joint investigation with forensic scientists representing Peddars Way. We will be following up our interviews with residents and will be going into the building after making it structurally safe.”

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“Everyone talks about chimney fires with thatch, but I would not like to speculate at this point. Looking at it, it could be that the cause is undetermined,” he said.

Peddars Way representatives met with its homeless tenants today, who have been staying with family and friends since Sunday's fire, and are set to offer them alternative accommodation soon. A spokeswoman added that the housing association was looking to rebuild the cottages.

Samantha England, 35, who lives at number one, which was completely gutted, said she “definitely” wanted to return to the cottage with her three dogs.

“I love that little home and I want to stay in Weeting because it is where my family is, but who knows how long it will take to repair. I have lost everything and the Red Cross and local people have given me new clothes to wear and toiletries, which was nice of them,” she said.