UPDATED: Neighbours help save Powerstock thatched house from flames (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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UPDATED: Neighbours help save Powerstock thatched house from flames
NEIGHBOURS in Powerstock helped save a thatched house in the village with a combination of luck and bravery.
Peter Arnold, who lives in the property with wife Janet, said he was upstairs working when he heard a ‘roaring’ sound from the chimney.
He said: “We were very lucky, it could have been so much worse.
“I went outside and saw smoke coming from the chimney.
“So I went back inside and dampened it down a bit.”
Mr Arnold thought the fire had been averted, but a neighbour came to the property minutes later reporting that the roof was alight.
Mrs Arnold added: “We are very lucky. Time is everything in situations like that, and if it was full blown we could have lost everything.
“The response was just amazing.”
Mary and Chris Bunney, who live opposite the Old Vicarage, were both instrumental in helping to put the fire out before the fire engines arrived.
Mrs Bunney saw the flames in the roof.
She said: “It was luck it was spotted as soon as it started “Peter and Chris got up on the roof and contained it. It shows you if you don’t see things how quickly they can take hold.
“A disaster was averted by a lot of good luck and some bravery. Chris had two very long ladders. To be fair Chris is no youngster – he’s 74.
“To give him his due he lept up there.”
The home owner had a pressure car washer he used to put out the fire with Mr Bunney’s help.
But Mr Bunney declined to be hailed a hero.
He said: “You just try to do your little bit to help. I don’t do anything without thinking. I considered the risks although when the fire brigade came they said ‘we can’t go up there, there is a mains cable’!
“Luckily we caught it early and there was just enough water from the washer to contain it.
“Sod’s law we have had three days of dry weather. Three weeks ago it would have just steamed for five minutes.
“Still all’s well ends well.”
Most of the damage, he said, was from firemen pulling the thatch out to make sure there were no hot spots.
The fire service came back at 10pm to check again, he added.
The landlady of the property is reported to have given the family a cheque to have dinner in the pub.
Mrs Bunney added: “We all laughed and joked about how many fire engines turned up but apparently they have to.
“If they know it is a thatched cottage in a remote location, ie where there is no mains water they send five because their water runs out very quickly.”
Station Manager Stuart Jeneson, incident commander said: "Crews did a fantastic job knocking the fire back and keeping property damage to a minimum. It was a small area of thatch involved adjacent to the chimney.
“We always recommend chimneys are swept and well maintained, especially in thatch properties.”
Mrs Arnold said their chimney had been swept in September and an investigation is now underway to find out the cause of the fire.