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‘Our Christmas is gone’ - Couple lose family photos and roof in devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 20:50 09 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:53 10 December 2018

Graham Bourne and his wife Erika's house suffered devasting damage in a fire in Shelfanger. Picture: Conor Matchett

Graham Bourne and his wife Erika's house suffered devasting damage in a fire in Shelfanger. Picture: Conor Matchett

Archant

A couple who saw years of family photos go up in flames after a fire claimed a large part of their house said their “Christmas is gone”.

The aftermath of a fire at a home in Shelfanger, near Diss. Picture: Connor MatchettThe aftermath of a fire at a home in Shelfanger, near Diss. Picture: Connor Matchett

Graham and Erika Bourne, 70 and 68, are now living in a caravan in their driveway on Heywood Road in Shelfanger, near Diss, while they wait for their landlord to find them temporary accommodation.

The blaze, which started at about 2.30am on Sunday morning, tore holes in the roof of the Bourne’s house and caused their bathroom roof to collapse.

Mr Bourne said: “I thought it was falling water. I raced into the kitchen and turned the consumer units off. I then looked up and saw these beautiful flames.

“It must have been going before it got to the smoke alarm and woke us up.”

The aftermath of a fire at a home in Shelfanger, near Diss. Picture: Connor MatchettThe aftermath of a fire at a home in Shelfanger, near Diss. Picture: Connor Matchett

He added: “Our Christmas is gone as far as what we have got planned. It was going to be a normal day but we had arranged for all our family to come to us. We were going down to the community centre for their big party but that has been cancelled.

“My son was going to come from Norwich with his three little girls and his partner, and my daughter was coming from Southend with my grandson.

“One group of kids in the caravan, one in the house, but that has all gone out of the window now.”

Inspectors were trying to figure out the exact cause of the fire, which burned for nearly three hours before firefighters put it out.

Mr Bourne, who used to work at Banham Zoo but is now retired, added: “They are trying to determine which part of the electrics caused it but at the moment they don’t know.

“We are tenants and our landlord has been up and sorting out their insurance to get us temporary accommodation. We are in limbo at the moment.

“Our very kind neighbours all up the road have been offering us beds, washing machines, toilets and showers and we have our home from home which has kept us in good stead and we have just made tea so all is not lost.

He added: “We’ve lost a few big suitcases with all our photographic stuff. That is gone completely and our family stuff has gone as well.

“The roof of the bathroom has collapsed and the other rooms are almost undamaged but totally covered in smoke.”

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