‘This house survived the blitz’ - say Hellesdon couple whose garage was destroyed by fire

Garage fire at the home of Keith and Pauline Rackham in Hellesdon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Garage fire at the home of Keith and Pauline Rackham in Hellesdon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An elderly couple have told how they had a terrifying wake-up call after finding their garage on fire.

Garage fire at the home of Keith and Pauline Rackham in Hellesdon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Garage fire at the home of Keith and Pauline Rackham in Hellesdon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Firefighters rushed to the Hellesdon home in a desperate bid to stop the flames from spreading to the house.

Police are investigating after the garage was completely destroyed in the blaze, which firefighters tackled for hours.

Keith Rackham, 82, and Pauline Rackham, 80, were in bed at their home in Links Avenue when the fire started. It was only when Mrs Rackham smelt smoke that the alarm was raised at 3.30am yesterday morning.

She said: 'I got up during the night and thought there was a funny smell. I came down and the curtains were all glowing.

'I looked outside and saw the fire and I woke my husband up. The fire engine was here in under five minutes.'

Two fire crews were sent, but on arrival, Simon Mason, a station manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, realised they needed more support. He said: 'We had initially sent two appliances and when confronted with quite a significant fire, we requested three. We managed to knock it down and prevent it spreading.'

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The blaze completely destroyed the garage, which had the couple's car and their daughters' books and childhood toys inside.

Mr Rackham said: 'This house survived the blitz and I made the garage myself in 1988. I filled the car up with petrol on Tuesday, so we were lucky that it didn't catch fire.

'It is just the inconvenience and nuisance of it all, I don't walk very far anymore and we rely on the car.'

No one was injured during the fire, which was tackled by crews from Sprowston, Earlham and Carrow, but Mr and Mrs Rackham were left without electricity yesterday.

While a fire investigation was unable to determine the cause of the blaze, police are investigating and the couple believe the fire was deliberate as they have been previously targeted.

In February 2012 a lit firework was put through their letter box, burning the carpet and entrance mat before they managed to throw it outside.

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