Suffolk harbour master boat fire: Twins, 89, escape from blaze

Ramsholt harbour master George Collins
Image caption George Collins was on the boat with his twin brother Bill when the fire started

An 89-year-old harbour master and his twin brother escaped a burning boat-cum-office which went up in flames while they made a cup of tea.

George Collins and his brother Bill had used a gas bottle to make a brew just before the fire started on Sunday.

He said they tried to stop the flames from spreading but in the end had to leave the boat on the River Deben at Ramsholt, Suffolk.

Mr Collins said he would replace the boat with a second-hand caravan.

He said he used the boat as his office and had owned it for 50 years.

Image caption Harbour master Mr Collins used the boat as his office
Image copyright Ramsholt Arms
Image caption George Collins said he and his brother Bill tried to go back on board to retrieve items
Image caption Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service was called at about 16:20 BST on Sunday

Mr Collins, who has been the harbour master at Ramsholt for 40 years, said: "We were making a cup of tea with a gas bottle.

"We'd just put a new gas bottle on for the cooker, turned the kettle off when it boiled and the flames went back to the gas bottle and it just exploded."

He said he tried to go back to the boat to retrieve some items but a "couple of people came down and got hold of us and dragged us out of the way".

Image copyright Geograph/John Sutton
Image caption The boat before the fire is just visible behind the blue-hulled vessel
Image caption Ramsholt lies on the River Deben estuary between Woodbridge and Felixstowe

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service was called at about 16:20 BST.

The neighbouring Ramsholt Arms pub posted details of the fire on Facebook, and dozens of people replied to express their relief the twins were not hurt.

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