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Couple tell of 'horrific' fire at their home in Grade-II country house

PUBLISHED: 17:22 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:22 12 April 2019

Firefighters outside Gunton Hall in north Norfolk, where a fire broke out on April 11, 2019. Picture: SUPPLIED BY GERARD STAMP

Firefighters outside Gunton Hall in north Norfolk, where a fire broke out on April 11, 2019. Picture: SUPPLIED BY GERARD STAMP

Archant

A couple living in part of a Grade-II listed country house have thanked their lucky stars after a “horrific” fire they believe was caused by a dog knocking over a floor lamp.

Gunton Hall, between Cromer and North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYGunton Hall, between Cromer and North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Just before 4pm on Thursday, April 11, 17 firefighters were called in to tackle the blaze at Gunton Hall, a grand 18th Century pile set in the middle of a 1,000 acre deer park between Cromer and North Walsham.

Gerard and Jacqui Stamp, both in their 60s, who live in part of the building, said they were shocked to find the blaze consuming their home of 25 years.

Mr Stamp said: “I came down into the old kitchen room and it was full of climbing fire. It was horrific. But it could have been much, much worse.”

Mr Stamp, a painter, said he thought the blaze broke out after their dog knocked over an old halogen light, sparking flames which spread to the curtains and throughout the room.

He said they were lucky the fire had been contained in that space, which is used as a living room.

Mr Stamp said: “We have old halogen uplighters on the ground which get very hot.

“We think maybe our dog knocked it over and it looks as thought the curtains caught on fire.

“We shut all the doors and I think it actually burned itself out through a lack of oxygen.”

This was not the first time Gunton Hall has faced fire. The building was devastated by a blaze in 1882 and lay derelict for almost a century before architect and developer Kit Martin bought it in 1980.

Mr Martin converted the hall into eight separate homes, and the Stamps live in the part of the building that was the stately home’s historic kitchen.

Mr Stamp said: “If the fire had got out of that room it could spread to other people’s homes, which would have been terrible.”

He said they had not had to move out of their home, but have sealed off the burned out room until it can be cleaned out.

Mr Stamp said the fire was a warning to anyone who still had old halogen uplighters.

He said: “They get really hot. I’m throwing the rest of mine out now.”

Mr Stamp praised the smoke alarm that alerted them of the blaze, and the firefighters from Aylsham, Cromer and Sheringham stations who came to put the blaze out.

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