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Three neighbours knocked on doors as the Stokenham fire started to alert sleeping residents to the emergency.
David Ellis, who lives on Grenville, at the rear of the Tradesman’s Arms and the old library said that it was three neighbours, Craig, Ella and Phil, who were first on scene and raising the alarm as the dangerous situation became clear.
David said: “Three neighbours physically knocked on every door of the thatched cottages to rouse the sleeping residents. They were joined by Kath from the pub to help evacuate.
“Several owners were in a deep sleep and had no idea of the danger they were in.
“In particular Craig and Ella, along with Phil were first on the scene raising the alarm and stayed throughout the incident.
“Other neighbours then guided residents to one side and provided shelter during the long night. Sadly, the fire service could not prevent the spread of the fire from the pub to the adjoining properties with thatched roofs, which took two hours to slowly creep from house to house, ending at the old library.
“The fire raged in the wind until 5am, where it remained lit until daybreak. Thereafter it became a smouldering source of intense smoke and is still being dampened down.
“Very sad day for the village, but thankfully to the efforts of the community, no one was badly injured or died.”
He said: “Unfortunately the fire service didn’t arrive until 00.55. They could not get any water on the fire until they eventually manoeuvred the [fire engine] through a small gap in the row of parked cars adjacent to the holiday homes at the junction with A379 a few vital minutes later.
“I just wanted to express our gratitude to ones whom knocked on doors and keeping people away.
“Without the direct intervention of Ella, Craig and Phil, it would have been left to the small fire crew to raise everyone before getting ready to actually attempt to put out the fire.”
There is a JustGiving page set up to support those who lost their homes and livelihoods in the blaze, you can find it HERE. There are additional fundraising events going on, which you can find out more about HERE.
Photo: David Ellis, taken the morning after
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