9:00am Sunday 26th May 2013
A ROW of ancient cottages and a pet cat were saved by the swift action of Devizes-based firefighters sent to Ludgershall on Sunday evening as cover while their colleagues in the village dealt with another fire in Weyhill.
But it wasn’t her 1668 thatched property Jacqui Broadbridge was the most worried about when she saw the fire engine pulling up outside as she returned home, but her 19-year-old pet cat Holly inside the building.
She feared Holly would be affected by smoke but in fact the cat was asleep upstairs blissfully unaware of the drama.
The self-employed gardener, said: “It was a horrendous feeling to come home seeing a fire engine pulling up outside your house with a growing crowd of people staring up at the roof of my house and realise there was smoke coming from the thatch.
“My first instinct was to see whether the smoke had entered the upstairs of the house and harmed my cat Holly.
“My heart was in my mouth and I felt physically sick.”
The houses, just a few yards from Ludgershall’s medieval castle and four doors down from the fire station, were saved in part because of an earlier fire in Weyhill.
Firefighters from Devizes had been moved to Ludgershall as cover and were on hand when the alert was raised. They were there in minutes.
They were able to tackle the thatch quickly and dealt with the problem before the fire was able to enter the roof space – which is when the tinderdry timbers ignite.
At one stage there were eight fire engines on the scene and firefighters were able to check the roof-space using thermal imaging camera for potential hotspots.
Jacqui added: “I would like to thank every one of those fire officers who attended.”
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