Major fire damages house in Catsfield

A DISTRESSED man had to be restrained from running back into a burning building to rescue one of his pet dogs, after a major fire broke out at a property in Catsfield.

A smoke alarm alerted the man to the fire at around 4.40am on Monday morning (August 8) and fire crews were called to the detached house in Watermill Lane, Henley’s Down.

Crew commander Leonardo Cacciatore, of Battle fire station, was one of the first on the scene.

He said it was lucky the man had managed to leave the burning building and the smoke alarm had ‘undoubtedly’ saved his life.

The man, who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but didn’t need to be taken to hospital, is now urging others to invest in a smoke alarm.

As the drama unfolded one of the occupant’s pet dogs had gone back inside the blazing building, but later came out of his own accord.

Leo said: “Upon arrival, we met the distressed owner who was extremely concerned as his Rotweiller dog had gone back into the home.

“I had to physically prevent him from going into the burning building and explained that it was far too dangerous for him to re-enter.

“I committed two crews wearing breathing apparatus and later increased this to three. “It was quite a large house and was fully engulfed in flames, with smoke issuing from the fire in the kitchen at the front of the property.

“This had spread to the first floor, as well as into the bathroom and the roof area.

“Crews were fought back by the heat of the flames, as it was a difficult and involved job.

“We had to withdraw crews and tackle the fire from outside using ladders, breathing apparatus and hose reel jets.

“Smoke had spread to other parts of the house and smoke was issuing throughout.”

Eight fire appliances helped tackle the blaze, including the Incident Command Unit from Bexhill and Water Carrier from Uckfield.

Crews finally left the scene at 9.30am when the incident was scaled down, leaving one fire engine from Barcombe.

This crew continued damping down and firefighters from Hastings and Bexhill returned throughout the day for a re-inspection until all hotspots were dealt with.

An investigation is currently underway into the cause of the blaze, as there was substantial damage to the roof, upper floors and kitchen areas.

Lead fire investigation officer Mark Hobbs said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and other Fire and Rescue Services are aware that pet owners will often place themselves at risk by attempting to rescue pets if their home catches fire.

“Our advice is always to get out, stay out and call us out.

“If you are a pet owner, we would strongly advise that you consider your pets now as part of your emergency plan, as it is often too late at the time of any fire.

“Practical considerations to take into account are; where the pet normally sleeps, have they got their own way out (a cat or dog flap)?

“As a last resort, have you a way of getting your pet out without having to go back through the building (keys to external doors that can be opened from outside, etc)?

“Finally, always ensure you have adequate working smoke detection.”