Update: More than 40 firefighters battled blaze in Southwold

Suffolk Fire Service managing the scene of a fire to a property on Ferry Road in Southwold.
Picture: James Bass

Suffolk Fire Service managing the scene of a fire to a property on Ferry Road in Southwold. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Fire investigations will begin tomorrow after a home was badly damaged during a 'major' blaze in Southwold.

Fire in Ferry Road, Southwold: Photo: Jim Elmes

Fire in Ferry Road, Southwold: Photo: Jim Elmes - Credit: Archant

More than 40 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze in 'testing conditions' tonight, as two people were forced to flee their timber-framed home and three other properties had to be isolated.

Crews from across Suffolk battled the flames and the strong winds for more than four hours at the property in Ferry Road, close to the landmark Casa Mia Piano Bar – known locally as the Dutch Barn.

Witnesses described a 'major blaze,' with one local saying: 'its a real shame,' as the home was so badly damaged.

Station commander Ian Mallet, from Ipswich East, said: 'The call came in about 4.30pm this afternoon following reports of a fire in an outbuilding.

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'With the weather conditions, it has pushed the fire towards the main property and the fire has spread through the house, going through the internal cavities, up to the loft.'

At the height of the blaze, two crews from Lowestoft South, joined fire crews from Southwold, Wrentham, Beccles and Ipswich East along with the aerial appliance from Ipswich.

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With the owners raising the alarm after the small 3m by 3m wooden shed was ablaze, concerns over the 'very close proximity' to their timber-framed home were realised, and after they had fled the blaze quickly spread to the front of the building.

By 5.40pm, as firefighters continued their efforts to stop the blaze spreading to nearby buildings, UK Power Networks were called out to isolate the gas due to a live electricity supply, which led to three properties being 'isolated.'

Fire spread throughout the two-floor house, with firefighters working the aerial ladder platform to battle the flames in the roof area.

Onlookers described how the crews were forced to not only 'battle the fire but the high winds as well.'

Police were called to close roads around the fire, and the ambulance attended but with the owners safely out of their home, they did not need any medical attention.

Station commander Mallet said: 'The conditions made it very difficult, and due to the strong winds the crews have done the best they could with the resources they had.'

At about 7.15pm, he said that relief crews were on their way to the scene, as firefighters looked to 'scale down' the operation.

'We are now on the verge, within the next hour-and-a-half, of scaling the incident down, with crews damping down. These have been quite testing conditions,' the station commander said.

'The owners recognised the danger and the crews worked their hardest to control the blaze. The two people did not require medical attention, they are now safe at another property, and the fire investigation will commence in the daylight hours.'

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