Lucky escape as fire hits Tudor home

A PENSIONER has spoken of a lucky escape after a huge fire took hold of his house in the early hours while his ill wife and her carer slept.

A PENSIONER has spoken of a lucky escape after a huge fire took hold of his house in the early hours while his ill wife and her carer slept.

Merlin Channon, 84, discovered the fire in the dining room of his detached Tudor house in Church Street, Eye, after waking at about 2.30am last Tuesday.

The former director of music at Woolverstone Hall School managed to escape to safety with his 84-year-old wife Ann - who is seriously ill with dementia - and her South African carer. The fire caused extensive damage to his home of 36 years.

"I was sat awake in bed at around 2.30am and I tried to put the lights on in the bedroom but they didn't work," said Dr Channon. "I had a look at the fuse box outside the bedroom and everything was OK and so I went downstairs and opened the dining room door and it was full of smoke.


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"I went to get my wife's carer, because my wife has dementia which is at a very serious stage, and we phoned the fire service. They were marvellous and within 10 minutes they had arrived."

Dr Channon said the trio are very fortunate to have escaped.

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"It is only that I woke up in the middle of the night to do some work. Otherwise heaven knows what might have happened," he said. "I am very thankful that I did wake up."

More than 60 firefighters from across Suffolk battled the blaze which spread to the roof of the house. Church Street is still closed because of work being carried out at the house.

Dr Channon, who has one daughter and two grandchildren, is staying at a cottage close to his home which he has been given by friends.

His wife, who was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, is at Christies Care in Saxmundham.

Dr Channon believes it could be at least a year before he and his wife can occupy the five-bedroom house again. And he is extremely grateful for the support he has received from the community.

"So many people came to help and everybody in Eye has been marvellous," he said.

A fire investigation into the blaze has concluded it started by accident, probably in an electrical intake box in the dining room.

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