A FAMILY have described their lucky escape after a fire ripped through their historic thatched cottage.
Charles Tydeman fled the blaze at The Goldings, in Stonham Aspal, with his wife Maria and daughters Katy and Hayley after they were alerted by an upstairs smoke alarm.
Firefighters battled the fire for about four hours on Sunday and managed to salvage most of the family’s possessions from the ground floor.
The blaze virtually gutted the cottage, which dates back to the 1500s, but a modern extension was almost unscathed with just some smoke damage.
On Monday, Mr Tydeman, 50, who is a farmer and has lived at the property for about 13 years, said: “I feel numb. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest and I’m just relieved that no-one was hurt.
“We got most of our personal stuff out.
“We lost some stuff in the upstairs bedrooms because we had to vacate them quicker than we could empty them.
“My daughters lost a few things because their bedrooms were in the old part.”
“If you can be lucky when you have a fire then we were as we got things out and no-one was hurt.”
They were made aware of the blaze at 10.10am after the smoke detector was triggered and they saw smoke drift past a window.
The family called the emergency services and 10 fire and rescue vehicles attended the incident at its height.
They are planning to stay in a house on their farm, Broughton Hall, in the village.
Mr Tydeman said: “There was no sign of flames initially because it all started in the loft area.
“The fire service was absolutely amazing and did a marvellous job in protecting the more modern part. We’re going to write a letter to them.
“The old building is very badly damaged. I think most of it will have to be replaced to take it back to where it was.
“We’ve had lots of offers of help from friends and neighbours.”
A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the blaze had yet to be established.