‘No easy way to say your roof is on fire’

Fire in Hempstead Lane, Potten End.
Fire in Hempstead Lane, Potten End.

A HOLIDAY in Italy was cut short when neighbours called to say: ‘Your roof is on fire’.

Stuart and Margaret Grieve raised the alarm after spotting smoke coming from the next door house in Hempstead Lane, Potten End, on Friday.

Fire in Hempstead Lane, Potten End.

Fire in Hempstead Lane, Potten End.

Their neighbours, Emyr and Patricia Williams, had entrusted them with the keys to the house and the Grieves were able to let in fire crews, who took around six hours to tackle the blaze.

Stuart, 74, said. “I phoned the family in Italy and told them. I said: ‘Hello. There’s no easy way of saying this: Your roof is on fire.’

“He said to me: ‘How bad is it?’ and I said: ‘There’s a lot of smoke. It looks pretty bad. On a scale of one to 10 I’d say it’s seven and a half’. He said: ‘OK, we’re getting a flight home.’”

Stuart added: “The firemen said had it not been for my wife noticing it, another 10 minutes we might have lost the house.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated but it is believed to be an electrical fault.

The pictures on the left, courtesy of Stuart Aubrey, show – inset – the smoke billowing from the roof and firefighters tackling the blaze.