Firefighters battle cottage roof blaze

PUBLISHED: 07:52 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 21:16 29 May 2010

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the thatched cottage

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the thatched cottage

SIX fire engines rushed to a blaze in the roof of a thatched cottage in Dunmow on Tuesday afternoon. Sally Boyd was doing housework upstairs in her home on Beaumont Hill at 2.30pm while daughter Emily, 17, was cleaning her bedroom, when they became aware

Fire crews rushed to the scene from across the area - Pics: Suzt Whitaker

SIX fire engines rushed to a blaze in the roof of a thatched cottage in Dunmow on Tuesday afternoon.

Sally Boyd was doing housework upstairs in her home on Beaumont Hill at 2.30pm while daughter Emily, 17, was cleaning her bedroom, when they became aware of the fire.

"At first I could smell smoke, but thought it must be a bonfire somewhere outside," said Mrs Boyd. "I leaned out of my bedroom window to look and saw that our thatched roof was alight!

"It was just glowing. I shouted to Emily and got us both straight out."

Mrs Boyd, who has worked at the Dunmow branch of Specsavers since Christmas, was on her day off and her other daughter, Hettie, 14, was at school when the incident occurred.

"I called emergency services straight away and they were here within minutes," said Mrs Boyd. "I'd hate to think what would have happened if it hadn't been my day off work and I hadn't been there."

Fortunately, the fire caused minimal damage to the roof, but the dousing of the flames resulted in water damage to the first floor.

It is not yet known what had caused the fire, which is thought to have started near some fence panels round the back of the property which Mrs Boyd's ex-husband, Gerry Boyd, built 14 years ago.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.

Acting divisional officer Stuart McMillan said: "Crews worked really hard and did a fantastic job in preventing the spread of this fire and finally putting it out.

"When a thatched roof catches light it can cause complete devastation and it is thanks to the professionalism and hard work of the crew that this was not the case with this cottage."

Mrs Boyd, who was also worried about the whereabouts of her four cats, told the Broadcast: "We would like to thank the firefighters for their speed and hard work. They came out as soon as I called. They have also been brilliant getting insurance details out and telling me what was happening throughout the whole time."

Although a smoke alarm was fitted in the property, Dunmow station officer Keith Crow believes the property would have needed at least three alarms.

"Many people now think that one fire alarm is enough to protect their property, but most homes could benefit with at least two or three and they need to be in the correct position," he said.

Dunmow Fire Service is urging people to take up their offer to visit homes and fit fire alarms free of charge.

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