A Bury St Edmunds mum has praised firefighters and residents for rushing to the rescue after a ‘terrifying’ blaze ripped through her neighbours’ caravan and spread to their houses - killing her 11 pet guinea pigs.
Laura Lambell, 27, and her husband Andrew, 29, of Baldwin Avenue on the Mildenhall Road Estate, were alerted to the fire at their next door neighbours in the early hours of the morning when some residents knocked on their door.
It was absolutely terrifying. The kids were quite scared.Laura Lambell
They helped the couple carry their three young children to safety as the flames threatened to engulf the two houses and their cars.
At her neighbours, the fire destroyed a caravan, gutted a car and caused minor damage to another car.
The flames and heat caused some damage to both houses and 11 of Mrs Lambell’s guinea pigs died but one survived. The back and right side of her Citroen Xsara Picasso has also melted.
She said: “It was absolutely terrifying. The kids were quite scared. We didn’t realise what was happening. I heard the knocking on the door and it took a while to register what I was actually hearing.
“I went into my bathroom and I thought the street light was really bright. Two gentlemen came and helped me get my three children out because we thought the cars were going to go up.
“When I got out the whole caravan was up and by the time I got out their car was up and because of the really extreme wind my car was disappearing over the flames. The damage doesn’t reflect how big that fire was. We’re exceptionally lucky it is as it is.”
Two crews from Bury St Edmunds were initially called to the incident at 2.50am to reports of a caravan on fire.
On arrival the first crew immediately requested the assistance of a further three fire engines as the blaze was affecting two properties and three cars.
Further crews were sent from Wickhambrook, Ixworth and Elmswell and they brought the incident under control by 4.16am using four sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reels.
A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said there were no casualties.
Mrs Lambell stayed at her neighbour’s house across the road and they were allowed back into their home at 5.30am.
She praised the firefighters and community for their efforts.
She said: “I’m completely shocked - we’ve lived here two years nearly and it’s a lovely community to be a part of - that’s obvious from the people who came to help. The fire service were absolutely amazing - they went above and beyond with the guinea pigs and they were constantly reassuring the children.”
The police were also called to assist.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “An ambulance crew and ambulance officer attended who assessed one patient who did not require treatment or transport to hospital.”
An investigation into the cause of the fire has begun.