Man describes entering smoke-logged home to rescue two dogs as ferocious blaze took hold
PUBLISHED: 10:15 24 July 2019
A man has described entering his home to rescue two dogs trapped inside as a ferocious blaze took hold.
Paul Durrant faced thick black smoke in the dining room of the property in Queen Anne's Road, Great Yarmouth, as he attempted to rescue the animals, Bonnie and Carter, a Bulldog and a 14-year-old Staffie.
The 56-year-old had just popped out to pick his granddaughter up from school when he received a phone call to say his house was on fire.
Rushing back to the scene he found neighbours talking to the panicked animals through the letter box.
"I could not even see the flames because of the smoke," he said.
"All I wanted to do was get the hose, but then I realised it wasn't a very good idea to be in there too long."
The fire had taken hold in a garden shed which was completely destroyed.
At the height of the blaze flames were visible above the terrace of homes, melting guttering, smashing windows, and threatening to spread to other homes in the compact urban area.
Gas canisters stored in the shed also exploded.
Another shed housing children's bikes was destroyed along with a memorial bench for Mr Durrant's parents.
The retired bus driver said he and his wife Kelly and her two sons faced moving out of their home of six years into a caravan.
Both the dogs were being taken to the vets for a check-up and one of them appeared to be bleeding.
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Watch manager for Norfolk Fire Service Thaine Hacon said the fire had started in the shed and spread to two properties causing substantial damage.
In the other house the fire had got in through the extraction system and melted kitchen cupboards on the wall.
At Mr Durrant's home everything in the back garden had been destroyed and covered in shattered glass and black soot.
Inside there was considerable smoke and water damage with every window broken and their frames melted.
He commended the fire service for their quick response.
The alarm was raised by people enjoying an art and craft session at Community Roots opposite the house.
Dawn Potter said they were just packing up when they spotted the flames.
She said: "It was really thick black smoke. You could hear the flames and hear them cracking.
"You could not tell if it was in the house or not."
A passing police patrol car also saw the flames and stopped, Sgt Nick Tungatt describing how he saw the owner rush in to save the dogs while the fire crews worked at the back of the house.
Cally Nunn, from Lowestoft, also leapt into action after spotting the fire on her way to Pets at Home.
She said she rushed into the property after Mr Durrant unlocked the door, carrying the first dog to safety and helping with the second.