The close-knit community of Clare is coming to terms with a tragic loss of life following the discovery of a body after a fire at a house in the town.
Firefighters made the disturbing discovery after breaking their way into the detached house in Nethergate Street after the fire broke out on Tuesday (17) morning.
The occupant of the house was named locally as Bridget Burgess, although at the time the Echo went to print no formal identification of the deceased had been made.
Fire crews from Haverhill and Clare were the first to arrive at the house at 7.50am.
Assistant chief fire officer for Suffolk, Phil Embury, described what happened: “When they arrived they were confronted with a severe fire in the two storey house.
“They quickly asked for assistance and three more fire engines attended (from Haverhill, Long Melford and Wickhambrook).
“The fire was very well developed in the house. Lots of smoke was coming out of all the windows and underneath the eves.
“They had to break into the house and tackle the fire, which involved almost the entire upstairs and the lounge.
“The nature of the severe fire had left the internal floors unstable and it was quite hazardous for our crews to operate inside the building.”
Officers discovered the body in a first floor bedroom which, said Mr Embury, was where the fire started. Nobody else was in the house.
Fortunately the house is also far enough away from other properties for them to be affected by the fire or have to be evacuated.
Firefighters remained on scene for most of the day, damping down and ensuring the building was safe.
A spokesman for Suffolk Police said yesterday (Wednesday): “A joint investigation between police and fire officers has concluded that the fire was accidental and that there were no suspicious circumstances.
“The matter has now been referred to the coroner whilst enquiries continue to formally identify the body and a post-mortem will be held in due course.”