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Roof of bungalow catches alight in Rosemary Avenue, Halfway

By Ellis Stephenson

The roof of a bungalow has been left seriously damaged after a blaze.

Three fire engines were sent to Rosemary Avenue, Halfway, at 12.17pm to put it out.

It is thought to have been started accidentally, after the warm remains of a log burner were tipped in a wheelie bin.

Barry Sawyer and Eileen Nivison's home went up in flames
Barry Sawyer and Eileen Nivison's home went up in flames

Once it caught alight, the flames spread from the bin to a fence, then the roof of the home.

It meant partners 74-year-old Barry Sawyer and 70-year-old Eileen Nivison had to stay with Miss Nivison's son overnight with shih tzu, Oliver.

The pair, a former coach body worker and accounts clerk, had lived in the bungalow for about four years before seeing it go up in flames.

The fire spread from a bin to the fence and then the roof of a bungalow
The fire spread from a bin to the fence and then the roof of a bungalow

Miss Nivison said: "All the memorable stuff was in the loft which the firemen said was all gone.

"It was a big shock. I said to Barry when you watch these things on the television you say you would be so controlled but I was running around like a headless chicken.

"I was worried about getting the dog out and the car off the drive."

Mr Sawyer added that he tried to battle the flames, with the help of a neighbour, before the fire brigade arrived.

"I was trying to put it out with a garden hose but the flames were just higher than me," he said.

"We have thrown the ashes away before and this has never happened. We left them a long time before throwing them away, it must have been the wind that whipped them up into flames.

"There will be some reflection on it when we get our own accommodation."

'I was trying to put it out with a garden hose but the flames were just higher than me' - Barry Sawyer

Miss Nivison thanked people for their help and support.

She added: "The neighbours were absolutely fantastic. The firemen were phenomenal, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone."

They have been told not to enter the bungalow as there is a danger asbestos could be in the Artex.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Firefighters are reminding people to make sure log burner or fire remnants are completely cooled before being disposed of."

Crews had left by 3.01pm.

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