Tree crashes into empty house and cuts power to Austhorpe House nursing home in Tacolneston

Nursing home residents were left in the cold and dark after a tree being felled in Tacolneston crashed into an empty house, cutting power lines.

Staff at the Austhorpe House home feared for the welfare of their 23 patients, aged 72 to 100, after the accident at 11.30am today (Tuesday) left them without electricity for sterilisation, hot water and feeding tubes.

Manager Lauraine Wilson was told the home, which provides palliative care nursing, could be without power for four hours.

She said: 'Potentially if we don't get the heat back they are going to die. They are very frail.'

The tree damaged the roof of Millbank, a two-storey house on the corner of Bentley Road and Norwich Road, knocking a chimney onto a car, but there were no injuries.

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The weight of the falling beech tree tugged at a power line, causing electricity poles to tilt.

Residents said a lorry then ploughed through a live wire left hanging across Norwich Road, snapping the cable and plunging more homes into the dark.

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A worker for UK Power Network said power was cut to 67 buildings, and nearby residents gathered at the Jolly Farmer pub for a hot meal.

Victoria Gorvin said her Norwich Road home, which she has owned for three years and is currently rennovating, suffered damaged brick work.

She said: 'It was like a low rumble noise. As the tree went it took the wire, and pulled our contacting wire out.'

Residents said 35 trees had already been cleared from the land around Millbank.

Self-employed tree surgeon and fencer Graham Harber, who carried out the operation, said he removed overhanging branches from near the power line before using a machine attached to the tree with a cable to pull it down.

He said: 'Everything all went to plan except it got in a bit of a spin and went that way.

'That is the first day I have had this happening in 20 years I have been doing this.'

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