Fire tears through village cottage

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A COUPLE are recovering after a fire ripped through a historic cottage in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Ron and Sheila O’Keefe managed to escape from the blaze at Lawn Cottage in Warren Lane, Woolpit.

Between 25 and 30 firefighters attended the incident at about 4am and tackled the flames for an hour.

Mr and Mrs O’Keefe suffered minor injuries and were taken by paramedics to a relative, who later took them to hospital.

Dave Collins, group manager for Suffolk Fire, said the pair were alerted by the noise of the fire, which started in the lounge and spread throughout the building.

Mr Collins added: “This was without a doubt a very serious fire.

“We’ve had to remove part of the roof tiles to ventilate.

“At this point in time we have not found any working smoke alarms.

“At the moment we’re carrying out an investigation.”

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the couple had lived at the cottage for 35 years and are in their early 70s.

He thought the building was about 300 years old.

He added: ““What’s happened is ghastly and absolutely grim but it could have been a lot worse.

“There was a lot of smoke but we don’t think we saw any flames.

“They’re a normal, genuine couple and excellent neighbours.

“They thoroughly enjoyed the house.”

“It’s a treasure and I hope it hasn’t been damaged to the extent it isn’t recoverable.”

The ambulance service confirmed the pair received minor burns.