Thatched cottage fire

Firemen from four Norfolk towns, some wearing breathing apparatus, sort through the reed-thatched roof of a cottage on fire at Burgh.

Blaze makes six homeless

From the Eastern Daily Press, Monday 22 March 1976

A family of six were made homeless on Saturday when fire destroyed the thatched roof and severely damaged upstairs rooms of their detached cottage at Church Lane, Burgh, near Aylsham.

Mr and Mrs Barry Thorpe, with their three sons and daughter moved to Norfolk from Leicester only months ago. Mr Thorpe, who used to be in the hosiery business, had decided to devote a few months renovating their newly-acquired cottage before he started business again.
“We had done the work upstairs, which had included replacing some beams and floorboards and had had the wood treated for woodworm, and we had just started downstairs when this happened,” he said.

Family and friends help in moving possessions to a caravan from the thatched cottage that caught fire.

It was Mr Thorpe who spotted the fire and raised the alarm. “I was out in the garden and saw flames coming up from a hole in the thatch,” he said. He and Mr Robert Dittrich, of the Post Office Stores, tried to contain the blaze with a hosepipe and the family were joined by many villagers in removing as many contents as possible to safety.

The roof was well alight when Aylsham firemen under Sub-Officer Ken Walker, arrived. They were soon joined by North Walsham brigade with Sub-Officer Ken Mace in charge, and four men wearing breathing apparatus went into the house to direct jets on to the flames.

Firemen from Stalham and Wroxham also were sent to Burgh, and Divisional Commander Donald Wallace was among senior fire officers of Norfolk Fire Service who attended.

EDP front page news

Mr Thorpe paid tribute to people of the village who helped to get a lot of the furniture out of the house, and those who had offered the family temporary accommodation. “Although we are homeless as you can see, we are, in fact, not without somewhere to live for the time being,” he said.

Mr Thorpe explained that recently, his wife’s mother had moved into the area. He said he did not know if it would be possible to rebuild the cottage.

Three of Mr and Mrs Thorpe’s family – Paul, 18, Clive 16, and Sarah Jane, who is eight, helped move things out of their house. Their other son, Kevin, was away visiting friends.

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