Family describes fleeing Shipdham fire which wrecked their home and business

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A family forced to run through flames to flee their blazing home and business today spoke of how they are hoping to rebuild their lives.

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Alex and Faye Morse, from Watton Road, in Shipdham, near Dereham, spoke publicly today for the first time about how the raging fire destroyed their bungalow and classic car restoration company, which has been in the family for 50 years, and left them with nothing.

They will not receive any insurance money.

If it had not been for their 14-year-old son, Bono, who has autism and alerted them to the fire, they may not have survived.

Bono, who always sleeps with the light on, woke up his parents in the early hours last Wednesday morning after the fire caused a power-cut and the light in his bedroom was not working.

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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But when Mrs Morse, 37, looked out of the kitchen window, she was terrified to discover a massive blaze consuming the workshops attached to the wooden bungalow.

She began screaming 'fire'.

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Mrs Morse said: 'I was shouting that we had to get out, instinct kicked in and I didn't stop to pick up anything, I just went straight for my children.

'I picked up my youngest son Brian [four], and made sure Bono was with me in case he panicked. My daughter Amber [16] and Brian were screaming that we were going to die.'

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

As the family stepped outside, the trees had caught fire and the flames were quickly spreading.

'We had no other choice but to run towards the fire to get out, it was the only thing we could do,' Mrs Morse added.

Hand in hand the family attempted to escape towards the road and as they passed a workshop there was an explosion.

'It just went bang,' she said.

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Here Mr Morse is pictured

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Here Mr Morse is pictured with his 4 year-old son Brian. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Dressed in only their pyjamas they stood on the edge of their garden and watched the destruction.

'There was nothing we could do, we just had to watch our home and our business burn.'

There were bangs and explosions as chemicals and gas canisters on the site continued to explode.

No-one was injured, however Mrs Morse was treated by paramedics for shock.

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Also pictured are their ch

The family home of Alex and Faye Morse in Shipdham was destroyed by fire. Also pictured are their children Bono (14) and Brian (4). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

More than 50 firefighters began battling the blaze at around 4.30am and continued to do so for more than twelve hours. They also moved ten pet dogs to a safe place. None of them were injured.

A spokesperson from the Norfolk Fire Service said yesterday that the investigation into the cause of the fire was still ongoing.

The family's home was attached to Mr Morse's classic car restoration business, which had been in his family, on the same site, for around 50 years. It consisted of multiple workshops and a garage and had around 200 vehicles at the site.

It is estimated that around £3m worth of classic cars were lost in the blaze, including Bentleys and Rolls-Royce.

The roof over the garage and workshops have caved in, revealing the burnt contents within.

There are also several completely burnt out cars, included a new Mini Cooper, which the family had brought just three months earlier.

Although the insurance will reimburse customers, the Morse family will not receive any money.

The wooden bungalow the family were living in, was a temporary residence, while they built a house on the land, and was not insured.

The bungalow – and its contents – has been burnt to ashes and the surrounding trees are scorched black and bare.

All of their possessions, including the children's school uniforms, computers, family heirlooms and photographs have all been lost.

The new house which was mostly untouched in the blaze is in the early stages of building and is currently still a shell. However the family are pleading for anyone who is able to volunteer their skills, to help them to complete it, so they are able to reunite their family and start again.

Pouring all of the money into their family home and businesses, they have been left heartbroken by the incident.

Two children, Crystal, 12, and Elsie, nine, were at their grandparents' house when the fire broke out and Amber is now staying there too.

Mr and Mrs Morse, and their two sons, are staying in a B&B, which Breckland Council has provided them with for a week.

However they have been 'left homeless' as once their council-paid accommodation ends, they do not know where they will go.

Mr Morse, 45, said: 'We will try to rebuild the business but the thing is – with what? Look at it, it's all gone. It's horrendous.'

Mrs Morse added: 'I'm just glad we all got out ok, the children are still having nightmares and panic attacks but we will have to try and get through it.'

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