Suffolk crews deal with fire at thatched cottage in Rattlesden

  • 15 March 2013
  • From the section Suffolk
Rattlesden fire
Image caption Two people are left homeless after a thatched cottage in Rattlesden is gutted by fire

Two people have been left homeless and suffering the effects of breathing in smoke after a fire destroyed a thatched cottage in Suffolk.

The cottage roof collapsed as 40 firefighters dealt with the blaze in Rattlesden near Bury St Edmunds.

Fire and rescue crews were called to Poy Street Green just after 17:00 GMT on Thursday.

Firefighters had to leave the property at one point as the roof and gable end of the cottage collapsed.

Five appliances as well as a command unit, water carrier and the aerial ladder were initially sent.

Another four appliances were called in shortly afterwards.

Police were called to the scene to control traffic and an ambulance was brought in to help the two people.

'Complete shock'

It took more than five hours to put out the fire and crews will return later to inspect the remains of the cottage.

Station commander John Illingworth said: "It took about four hours to break into the thatch which is the only way to deal with a fire like this.

"We needed to get water to the fire through thatch designed to keep it out.

"We had enough time to salvage many of the couple's possessions which were put under tarpaulin or into neighbours garages.

"The couple stayed with friends overnight after being treated for the effects of smoke inhalation."

Neighbour James Geraghty said that before the firefighters arrived he had tried to deal with the flames using a hose but this was ineffective.

"They were in complete shock," he said.

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