While NiL was over for dinner we noticed that a lot of white ash and smoke was drifting across our garden and wafting into our house. Being concerned about the amount of smoke we looked across the back gardens and could see what appeared to be a shed on fire.

Dashing off down to the house in question we could see that it wasn’t the shed, but the fencing, trellis, and hedge that was burning. However it was up against a brick shed and I thought it might cause the roof to catch light. Also there was a boat trailer in the fire which had caused the tarpaulin to catch light and start to melt across. We quickly knocked on the door but after no answer (we only waited a few seconds) we tried the handle (it wasn’t locked) and went in and informed the elderly couple who live there. Mrs Bear rang the fire brigade while me and the elderly gentleman organised a hose to try and contain the flames.

I took the hose and started to attack the flames, being careful not to get too close – I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and slippers! Slowly but surely the flames were put out but the amount of heat that was present was amazing: After soaking a spot I would move onto another, but the heat was such that the water would evaporate and the fire would spring back into life – in one dense spot it restarted 3 or 4 times. Finally the fire brigade arrived to a smoking, smouldering spot and gave the area a soaking with their hose which was a lot more impressive than the one I was using. I secretly hoped they’d ask me to douse it with their hose, but no such luck.

When the couple’s daughter arrived to look after them, me and Mrs Bear went back to NiL and our Fish Pie supper.

Later on I made my way back around to check that they were okay and to apologise for barging in like we did (must of been very shocking for them). They thanked us for being conscientious neighbours.

As to the cause of the fire, the fire service think it was a bottle of white spirit that was placed against the fence and subsequently lit by local kids. I hate to think what would of happened if the wind was in the other direction and we never noticed the fire.