Family escapes Soham mill arson

PUBLISHED: 10:54 08 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:01 04 May 2010

A SOHAM family had a lucky escape when arsonists set fire to the town s old Lion Mills site and flames came dangerously close to their home. They could feel the heat through the walls as the Bonfire Night fire scorched the outside of the building. Flames

A SOHAM family had a lucky escape when arsonists set fire to the town's old Lion Mills site and flames came dangerously close to their home.

They could feel the heat through the walls as the Bonfire Night fire scorched the outside of the building.

Flames leapt 20 feet in the air as Caroline Feetham, her husband and two of their three children, who were home at the time, fled from their house at The Lode.

Firemen battled for hours, using water from a nearby millpond, to bring the blaze under control.

"You could feel the heat through the walls," said Caroline. "We piled out of there. Everyone from the houses round the green was out watching."

The blaze broke out at 7.15pm on Monday night in a pile of wooden floorboards stacked at the back of the partially demolished mill.

People reported seeing fireworks shooting out of the woodpile and police believe the blaze was started deliberately.

Terry Feetham, 18, and his sister, Sasha were watching nearby firework displays out of the bedroom window when they suddenly saw the trees glowing orange.

Sasha called the fire brigade and it took fire-fighters until 9am the next morning to bring the blaze completely under control.

The family fears arsonists may have gone onto the site through a hole in the fence at the back.

"We've had police down here a couple of times because kids have come down the side wall and in the back way," said Terry.

Lions Mill, built in 1811, was run for 116 years by Clark and Butcher before closing in March 2005. Now plans have been revealed to build 140 new homes on the site.

Richard Powell, watch manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Luckily for us there was a pond on the site. This gave us quick and easy access to water and prevented the time and effort normally spent in locating a nearby hydrant."

Forensic investigators are now sifting through the remains for the fire to establish a cause.

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