THIS WEEK IN 1988: Blaze teras through a Portchester cottage

Toby Adams, 84, and his wife Elsie, 79, were taken to a nearby vicarage after being evacuated (B3530-1)
Toby Adams, 84, and his wife Elsie, 79, were taken to a nearby vicarage after being evacuated (B3530-1)
One of the Portsmouth divers going through decontamination. Picture: Royal Navy

Portsmouth bomb squad recover mustard gas bombs

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An elderly man and his bedridden wife were evacuated as flames ripped through their 600-year-old thatched cottage at Portchester.

Firemen tried to contain the blaze – believed to have been started by two youngsters, but the flames quickly engulfed the cottage’s tinder-dry beams and wooden panels on the upper floor.

The occupants for the past 41 years, Toby Adams, 84, and his wife Elsie, 79, were taken to a nearby vicarage after being evacuated with the family dog. They did not require hospital treatment.

Their son Godfrey Adams, 51, who lived with his parents, arrived at the Castle Street cottage from work to discover the blaze.

As he watched his home being destroyed, he said: ‘I have lost everything. But it could be worse. It’s a relief that everyone has got out. But I’ll tell you, they won’t be rebuilding the house.’