AN electrical short circuit has been blamed for a fire that devastated a Tydd St Giles house on Sunday.
Five fire crews, a turntable ladder and a water carrier were called to the Cross Drove house at 4.15pm, where they found the large detached house well alight.
The roof was completely destroyed by the blaze, which had started in the first floor airing cupboard before going into the loft and down into some of the bedrooms.
The first floor suffered extensive fire damage and the ground floor had extensive water damage.
The fire had smouldered undetected in the airing cupboard while the elderly residents searched for the reason their fire alarm was going off.
Fire investigator Steve Robinson urged people to call 999 straight away if their smoke detector is going off and they do not know why.
He said if the fire service had been alerted earlier, they could have caught the fire, using equipment such as a thermal imaging camera to detect the heat.
The elderly couple who lived in the house were not hurt in the blaze, as they were instructed to go outside by the control room operator.
However, most of their possessions were either destroyed or damaged and they are currently staying with neighbours.
Firefighters carried out a salvage operation and retrieved several grandfather clocks and some collectable crockery, which are now safely in storage.
A parrot was taken out of the house and two ponies, who were in a nearby field and distressed by the fire, were moved further away.
Phil Pilbeam, watch manager at Wisbech fire station, said: “Our efforts were hampered by a strong wind blowing the smoke and poor water pressure from a hydrant, but the crews managed to tackle the fire with two jets, two hose reels and water from the turntable ladder.”
The woman occupant was too upset to speak but wanted to thank the fire service for their swift response and their efforts to put the fire out.
“If they hadn’t come so soon, we would have lost a lot more,” she said.