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‘Thick smoke everywhere’: House severely damaged as tumble dryer catches fire

PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:32 12 August 2020

Firefighters said the Gainsborough Road house was well alight when they arrived. Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Firefighters said the Gainsborough Road house was well alight when they arrived. Picture: MARK LANGFORD

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A house in Stowmarket was badly damaged after a tumble dryer burst into flames.

The burned-out  tumble dryer which started the fire at the house in Gainsborough Road. Picture:MARK LANGFORDThe burned-out tumble dryer which started the fire at the house in Gainsborough Road. Picture:MARK LANGFORD

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus forced their way into the house in Gainsborough Road after the blaze started at around 1.20pm on Tuesday, August 11.

MORE: Firefighters battle house blaze

The fire caused extensive damage to the interior of the house, buckling window frames and scorching the exterior.

The householder, Heather Elden, escaped unharmed but the house she had spent years improving suffered what Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service described as “substantial” damage.

The fire caused extensive damage to the house in Gainsborough Road, Stowmarket. Picture: MARK LANGFORDThe fire caused extensive damage to the house in Gainsborough Road, Stowmarket. Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Mrs Elden had put some bedding on a cool cycle in the dryer in the hall and decided she would have a bath while it dried.

“I went to get my phone and suddenly there was all this smoke, thick smoke everywhere,” she said.

“The smoke alarms were going off and I opened the front door to try and push some of the smoke out. I heard my neighbour shouting to me from the front door and then everything just went up.

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“I’ve lived here for 30 years and got the place just how I wanted it.

“But yesterday I had my grandchildren here with me so at least it didn’t happen then.”

Firefighters from Stowmarket, Needham Market and Ipswich attended the scene. Crew Commander Terry Deane, of Stowmarket fire station, said the property was well alight when they arrived.

“On arrival we could see flames coming out of the front door and licking up the front of the house,” he said.

“It was a significant fire and the crews did well in very hot conditions. Once we established entry we were able to contain the fire relatively quickly.”

The cause of the fire in the tumble dryer is now being investigated to see whether it was electrical or caused by lint in the motor.

Station Commander Sally Hammond said the incident demonstrated the importance of working smoke alarms and how they should be tested regularly.

“Smoke alarms save lives and we would strongly advise everyone to ensure they have them fitted and that they are checked regularly,” she said.

Advice on fire safety in the home is available on the Suffolk Fire Service website.


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