Couple 'in a state of shock' after fire rips through barn

Barn's chimney survives fire

The aftermath of Monday's fire at a barn in Shadingfield near Beccles - Credit: Bruno Brown

A shocked couple have described the moment their "hearts sank", after seeing a plume of smoke above their village - only to realise it was coming from their home.

James and Cally Ellis, both 61, had been walking their dogs in Southwold and, when on their drive back to Shadingfield, they noticed a plume of smoke in the direction of their house.

As they got closer to the Suffolk village, near Beccles, their curiosity turned to horror when they realised it was their garden outhouse.

Mr Ellis said: "We naturally assumed it must just have been our neighbours having a bonfire again, but the closer we got we realised it was our house."

"Mercifully we were far away when the fire broke out, but we have been told it was a horrible sight for those who witnessed the inferno," he said.

Mr and Mrs Ellis's house just behind scenes of fire.

Mr and Mrs Ellis's house situated just behind remains of the fire. - Credit: Bruno Brown

The couple have lodged an insurance claim, while the fire investigators have said the cause is currently unknown since the fire had "destroyed everything".

Mr Ellis, retired, said: "No matter what the outcome of our claim, we are going to rebuild.

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"This was where we spent our summers - many summers.

"It was a wonderful outdoor eating and sitting area, we had many fond memories in the outhouse.

"My wife and I are in a state of shock, our emotions haven't hit in yet it is very surreal, I'm just relieved that nobody was hurt."

Barn timber structure remains

The debris and scarce remains of the couple's burnt barn. - Credit: Bruno Brown

Four fire engines were called to the couples home in Shadingfield at 4pm on Monday, July 11, to extinguish the burning barn.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The dry and hot temperatures worsened the situation and made it tough for our fire fighters to extinguish the blaze."

Firefighters battled to extinguish wood pile

Firefighters battled to extinguish wood pile which "continued to reignite". - Credit: Bruno Brown

Mrs Ellis said: "Our neighbours have been brilliantly supportive, just like during the pandemic in a tragedy like this.

"People come together with incredibly supportive words and messages, and the fire service were also fantastic.

"We are safe, the dogs are safe, nobody was hurt. I don't know how to feel about this.

"Never cry over something which will never cry over you.

"We were lucky it wasn't our home and empathise for people who have lost their home in surreal moments," she said.