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Crews from across Suffolk battled to save family home in Nether Street, Rougham, after fire ripped through thatched roof




A family home in Rougham was devastated after a fire fuelled by high winds destroyed its thatched roof on Saturday.

Suffolk Fire Service was called to the historic cottage, in Nether Street, shortly before 10am.

Throughout the day 20 crews from across the county were involved, including three from Bury St Edmunds and back-up from Newmarket, Mildenhall, Ixworth, Haverhill, Elmswell, Wickhambrook, Long Melford, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Needham Market, Debenham, Orford and Ipswich.

HIGH ROUGHAM: fire-damaged thatch cottage.High Rougham Picture Mark Westley. (7118992)
HIGH ROUGHAM: fire-damaged thatch cottage.High Rougham Picture Mark Westley. (7118992)

A neighbour said he saw blue lights flashing while he was eating his breakfast and went outside to investigate, watching the drama unfold throughout the day.

“What happened was a dog walker had seen it smouldering and knocked on their front door,” he said.

“I let the firefighters park on my drive and they had a tent in our front garden for rest and salvage. I think they also had a tent in the back garden of the cottage for the family’s possessions.

“I thought the firefighters were on top of it and they were going to be able to save it but they couldn’t. The winds were so high.

"It was horrendous, but the most important thing is that everyone is alright and safe.”

He said he believed the family who lived there were now staying with relatives.

Emergency crews were on the scene until 6.12pm.

A fire service spokesman said: “After gaining entry, work was started to remove the thatching from the property.

“Salvage of the building was undertaken as work to remove the thatched roof was on-going. Despite removing the thatch, there was sufficient damage sustained to the building.”

Suffolk Police were also on the scene providing traffic management, while UK Power Networks isolated the cottage’s electricity.

The Salvation Army's emergency response team at an incident in Rougham on Saturday (7166128)
The Salvation Army's emergency response team at an incident in Rougham on Saturday (7166128)

A team of Salvation Army volunteers attended the incident from 12.15-3pm to serve 100 drinks and 75 hot dogs to the 80 firefighters involved.

Michael Baker, co-ordinator of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Response Team, said: “For the past 40 years, Salvation Army volunteers have supported the emergency services and first responders at major incidents across Suffolk."

Rougham Parish Council chairman Peter Langdon said he only became aware of the fire on Tuesday evening but was planning to speak to the family as soon as possible.

“The parish council will obviously offer any support it can,” he added.

On Wednesday, salvage work to remove destroyed thatch from the site was ongoing.

It is thought the cottage, which is owned by the Rougham Estate, would be rebuilt.



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