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Fire engulfs flat above newsagents

PUBLISHED: 10:52 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 12 June 2018

Crews are at the scene of a flat fire in Halesworth  Picture: SUZANNE PAINTING

Crews are at the scene of a flat fire in Halesworth Picture: SUZANNE PAINTING

Archant

Fire crews rushed to Halesworth yesterday after flats above the town’s newsagents were engulfed in flames.

Fire crews at the scene of the fire in Halesworth. Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANTFire crews at the scene of the fire in Halesworth. Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANT

Crews received reports of the blaze, at a property in Chediston Street, close to the market place, at around 6.10pm.

According to a spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, it is believed no one was in the property when the fire took hold.

Crews are at the scene of a flat fire in Halesworth.  Picture Suzanne PaintingCrews are at the scene of a flat fire in Halesworth. Picture Suzanne Painting

It is believed to have started in the flats above DC Patrick newsagents and then spread to two adjacent buildings.

Firefighters called stop to the incident at 1.51am today but some still remain at the scene.

Smoke pours from the buildings Picture: MARK SYMONDSSmoke pours from the buildings Picture: MARK SYMONDS

Anthony Senior, 75, who lives nearby, said: “I was up in my living room watching the news and I started to smell smoke.
“I looked out of the window and saw smoke everywhere.

“It was absolutely horrendous.

Fire crews at the scene of the fire in Halesworth Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANTFire crews at the scene of the fire in Halesworth Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANT

“There were flames shooting everywhere and I was worried it would spread to the buildings this side of the road because they are all listed buildings.”

A fire spokeswoman said five engines had attended the scene, including crews from Saxmundham, Halesworth, Bungay and Stradbroke, and that further fire crews were ready on standby.

Crews tackle the roof Picture: MARK SYMONDSCrews tackle the roof Picture: MARK SYMONDS

Incident commander Paul Field, from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said crews expected to be at the scene through the night.

Mark Symonds said he was driving into town when he first saw the smoke.

Halesworth fire from above Picture: STEVEN FISKHalesworth fire from above Picture: STEVEN FISK

“I think I arrived just before the peak of the fire,” he said.

“I saw plumes of smoke when I was coming into town.

Halesworth fire from above. Picture: Steven FiskHalesworth fire from above. Picture: Steven Fisk

“The fire had spread to the flats on the left hand side of the newsagents.

“There were flames coming out of the roof of the flat above.

Thick plumes of smoke could be seen miles away from the fire in Halesworth Picture: BEN HAMMONDThick plumes of smoke could be seen miles away from the fire in Halesworth Picture: BEN HAMMOND

“Firefighters had to smash the roof in to dampen down the area.

“There was smoke everywhere.”

Streets were sealed off as firefighters tackled the blaze in Halesworth. Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANTStreets were sealed off as firefighters tackled the blaze in Halesworth. Picture: AMY SMITH/ARCHANT

Mr Symonds said the newsagents had been part of the town for years.

“It’s been there ever since I was a child,” he said.

Fire crews are on the scene of a fire in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDONFire crews are on the scene of a fire in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDON

“It has been here for years and years and is the last newsagents in the town.”

David Wardas, who owns the town’s fish and chip shop, said: “I have never seen anything like this.

Crowds gather at the scene of the blaze in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDONCrowds gather at the scene of the blaze in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDON

“We all own old buildings and it could have happened to any one of us.”

He said an African grey Parrot that lives in the newsagents had been rescued from the fire.

The scene of the fire in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDONThe scene of the fire in Halesworth Picture: JUDITH CONDON

All newspaper deliveries from DC Patrick will go on as normal.

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