Elderly woman and couple escape from house fire

A 91-YEAR-OLD woman and two other people escaped unhurt from a huge blaze which tore through a thatched cottage.

Firefighters were called to the two storey property in Chickney Road, Henham, at 6.20pm on Saturday evening (September 29) and reported that the roof was “100 per cent alight”.

Two crews from Saffron Walden and another nine from Newport, Stansted, Thaxted, Dunmow, Bishop’s Stortford, Halstead and Basildon tackled the blaze.

Incident commander Dave Barritt said late on Saturday night: “Three people were inside the cottage when the fire broke out, a 91-year-old woman and a couple. They had all evacuated from the property before the arrival of the fire crews and fortunately no one was injured.

“As a result of the fire taking hold of the thatched roof it has now collapsed into the first floor of the cottage. The crews have managed to salvage and save as many personal belongings for the owners of the cottage as possible.”

Firemen were at the scene damping down until 10pm on Sunday night.

The cause of the fire is unknown and an investigation will be carried out, the fire service said.

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Station officer Simon Dedman issued a warning to homeowners following the incident.

”Following the fire in the thatched cottage and with the winter months approaching, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again,” he said.

“In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to ensure your chimney is swept regularly.

“Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers, make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed and keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.”