An ‘awful’ loss as modeller’s sentimental railway collection goes up in flames
The blaze which began in a hedgerow in Langrick Road, Boston, on Tuesday last week and spread to two properties in Coningsby Close caused severe damage in two gardens.
One of these belonged to Sean Malone, who watched from his garden in horror as the blaze took hold of conifer trees and spread to his garden and large shed.
"My wife Barbara and I were sat on our patio at about 12.20pm having a coffee and I could hear this crackling sound,” he said. “I walked out into the middle of my garden and saw one of the 10ft leylandii (conifer) on fire.
"I tried to get the garden hose on it, but ended up calling my wife to ring the fire brigade.
"Then it came for my shed, but it was too late to save it. It was awful to see.
"I’m generally a very calm person, but I did think ‘Oh good God!’”
Along with a row of conifer hedging behind the homes, the blaze destroyed a large section of fencing, a wooden swing bench, and spread to Mr Malone’s large outbuilding which housed his model railway collection and various sentimental items.
"I have been collecting and building my model railway for the past four years, and lots of it was bought as presents for me over that time,” he said.
Mr Malone had spent those years painstakingly building various pieces for it from model kits.He estimates the railway collection was worth £6,000 with the shed costing £3,500.
"We also had a lot of memorabilia from Africa in there where we used to live. For 47 years I’ve been with Barbara and that was all our memories over that time, but it’s now all burnt and gone.”Mr Malone believes the ditch between the hedging where the fire began had regularly been in use by ‘drug takers and drunks’.
It is a concern shared by many of his neighbours.
Resident Peter Sharman said: “The land at the back of the houses is basically a ditch with a hedgerow either side. In the middle of this, residents have been seeing drunks and people taking drugs on a regular basis.”
While the fire service say the cause of the fire is ‘unknown’ – some residents are concerned the fire may have been started deliberately.
"I’ve been finding beer cans and evidence of drug-taking in that ditch on a regular basis,” said Mr Malone. “Even after the fire there were fresh beer cans left there the next day. So whether deliberately or by accident, I think someone set fire to it.”