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A narrow escape after a blaze inspired a Haverhill volunteer group to launch free fire safety scheme




Narrowly escaping a serious fire at his own home and business premises proved to be the catalyst for the founder of a volunteer community group in Haverhill to launch a free home fire safety scheme.

The programme is being run by the Matilda Rose Action Squad, which was set up in March 2020 to support people during the coronavirus crisis.

The squad, which takes its name from the Matilda Rose nail and beauty salon in Withersfield Road, Haverhill, provides support to people who are more isolated or vulnerable, by collecting their food and medicine, offering a voice to speak to on the phone and checking if they need any other support.

Members of the Matilda Rose Action Squad, with Jamie Nunn at the front. Submitted picture
Members of the Matilda Rose Action Squad, with Jamie Nunn at the front. Submitted picture

The group's founder and the owner of the salon, Jamie Nunn, was inspired to set up the fire safety scheme after an electrical fault caused a fire that badly damaged an outbuilding at his business at the end of April.

Jamie said: "It came about because I actually had a fire a few weeks ago.

"Luckily nobody was hurt but it highlighted the importance (of fire safety) and after asking a few of the people we are still looking after it was abundantly clear that it was quite a concerning number without adequate smoke alarms.

The fire at Matilda Rose almost spread to the flat above the business. Submitted picture
The fire at Matilda Rose almost spread to the flat above the business. Submitted picture

"Obviously we are lucky to be able bodied but the elderly and vulnerable are not so lucky and many times fire safety isn't their first priority so being able to do something that will potentially save lives was the obvious thing to get involved in."

"We did have working smoke alarms which was what alerted me in the first place thank God.

"We were very lucky as the roof was just starting to catch fire and the fire brigade were amazingly there within three minutes."

The fire damage at the outbuilding at Matilda Rose. Submitted picture
The fire damage at the outbuilding at Matilda Rose. Submitted picture

The action squad began fire safety training - the service includes free smoke alarm installations and checks - last week with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, led by Shelley Dockery.

Anybody that wants to either get involved or request a visit, should email: jamienunn14@gmail.com or call 01440 269435.

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