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60 firefighters called to tackle house blaze

Up to 60 firefighters battled a devastating blaze at a semi-detached home that was discovered by a neighbour who had called home early from work for a cup of tea.

Ian Chappell heard a loud bang from inside his home on Forster Avenue, Newark, at around 11.30am on Tuesday, and, after quickly investigating his own property, checked next door.

“If I hadn’t come home early, the whole lot could have gone up and our house too,” said Mr Chappell, who rang 999 after hearing a loud bang that he said sounded like an explosion.

Firefighters on the scene of a fire at Forster Avenue. (4695640)
Firefighters on the scene of a fire at Forster Avenue. (4695640)

“I ran outside the front and then the back and I saw smoke. I got the dog on a lead and was banging on next door in case there was anyone in.

“I could see the door warping so I had to move away.

Mr Chappell said the fire service were quickly on scene.

The first crews who arrived made sure no one was in at the property and rescued two dogs, one of which had to be resuscitated.

At its height, there were eight fire engines at the scene, including a high-rise appliance that fought the fire in the roof space from above.

Forster Avenue was cordoned-off.

Mr Chappell has lived on Forster Avenue for 16 years and shares the property with Rachel, and grown-up children Samara-Paris and Morgan.

Rachel said: “We all came home from work. We didn’t know what we were coming home to.

“Next door was burning and we were told that our house was waterlogged.

“My daughter is going to Miami tomorrow (Wednesday) so one of the firemen went in and rescued her passport and her case, but the case is wet through.

“It could have been much worse. There was nobody in next door and we are all safe and the damage at ours is just smoke and water. The house is still there.”

They were told it would be a while before they would be allowed back in their home.

The fire service incident commander, Station Manager Richard Cropley, said when he arrived flames were coming through the roof and the bedroom windows.

“The concern was that the fire would spread to the neighbouring property, so we put a fire break in.

“How it hadn’t spread to next door is, quite frankly, beyond me. It was so hot. There was a risk the latent heat would spread through the loft space. We used thermal imaging cameras to monitor the walls and hose to cool the brick work.

“We had firefighters inside the property that was on fire, but had to withdraw them because it appeared the roof would collapse onto them and the upstairs ceilings come down.

“We had up to six firefighters in breathing apparatus (BA) inside at any one time and four next door in BA.

“Once we withdrew, we fought the fire from outside putting water through the windows and roof. We’ll then remove what is left of roof tiles so the aerial platform can do its work and ensure the fire is out.”

It is believed the seat of the fire was in the kitchen. The cause is being investigated.


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