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Blaze sweeps through cottages

PUBLISHED: 09:41 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 12 July 2010

A pair of listed Suffolk cottages may have to be demolished after a fire swept through them overnight.

Building control experts were yesterday due to visit Oak Farm cottages in Hoxne Road, Weybread, to assess the scale of the damage.

A pair of listed Suffolk cottages may have to be demolished after a fire swept through them overnight.

Building control experts were yesterday due to visit Oak Farm cottages in Hoxne Road, Weybread, to assess the scale of the damage.

At its height about 25 fire fighters battled to bring the blaze at the unoccupied cottages under control after the alarm was raised at about 11pm on Wednesday.

It is not yet known how the fire started but it is thought it had been going for at least an hour before fire crews were called because of the remote location of the semi-detached cottages.

The owner of the timber-framed properties, Ruth Collins, lives in Jersey. Her brother Roy Goodwin, who lives locally at Syleham Hall, was yesterday surveying the damage.

He said the cottages had been left to his sister about 40 years ago by their grandmother. They had been rented to tenants, although there had not been anyone living in them for about a year.

Mr Goodwin said he thought it was unlikely the cottages could be salvaged. “I am not too optimistic, but the experts will tell us whether they can be saved,” he said. “It is just fortunate there was no-one inside at the time. I have spoken to my sister who is understandably shocked and I am keeping her up-to-date with what is happening. It doesn't appear that there has been any sign of a forced entry, but at this stage it is too difficult to say what caused the fire.”

Fire crews from Harleston, Diss, Stradbroke, Bungay and Bury St Edmunds brought the fire under control using water from a pond in the back garden of the cottages. Fire fighters remained at the scene yesterday damping down.

Assistant divisional officer Ali Moseley said that when crews arrived the building was already well alight. “The stability of the building is causing us some concerns at the moment and we are waiting for a building control officer to tell us whether or not it is safe to enter,” he said. “We have saved the majority of cottage number two, but number one has been completely gutted. The roof of both houses has gone as well.” ADO Moseley said it was too early to determine the cause of the blaze and that a fire investigation was under way.

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