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Swaffham couple speak of horror after teenagers crashed burning car into their home





“It’s hard to believe it’s happened to us.”

Those are the words of Valentin Tacciu. At the end of June, the home he and his partner Manuel Scarrone own in Swaffham was ravaged by a fire.

The blaze was caused by two teenagers driving a stolen car which was up in flames itself. They crashed into the front of the property, causing significant damage.

Smoke tore through the interior, leaving several rooms burnt almost beyond recognition.

Firefighters were quick to attend the scene and extinguish the fire - and nobody was injured.

However, the couple have now been forced to take up residence in a hotel while insurers work out just how much damage has been done at their home.

The car on fire outside the couple's Swaffham home. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone
The car on fire outside the couple's Swaffham home. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone

Valentin, 28, was home alone with pet dog Gizmo at the time of the incident, and was sleeping when the car struck shortly after 5am on June 30.

He was awoken by something “exploding” from the car, and believes it may have been a tyre. What followed was a “horrible” experience.

“When I looked out of the window, the car was already under the house in flames,” he told the Lynn News.

“I got dressed, I put a harness on my dog and we went out of the house. It was surreal - the whole thing was surreal.

Valentin (left) and Manuel (right) when they first purchased their Swaffham home
Valentin (left) and Manuel (right) when they first purchased their Swaffham home

“You don’t expect those things to happen. It was like something you see in movies.”

Valentin and Manuel, 43, bought and moved into their Lancaster Road new-build just over two years ago. It was their first proper home, having lived in a rented property beforehand.

Manuel is an interior designer, and the house therefore had a personal touch to it.

Firefighters extinguish the flames at the scene. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone
Firefighters extinguish the flames at the scene. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone

“We did work really hard towards it. We put a lot of time and money into it,” Valentin said.

However, following the fire, much of this was destroyed. Items of clothing were burnt, electronics such as computers and iPads were damaged, and a series of new belongings were rendered unusable.

“The whole property was damaged by smoke, and the fumes were coming from tyres, oil from the car, fuel and everything else - then the fire in the house itself,” Valentin said.

Flames from the crashed car quickly spread into the home. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone
Flames from the crashed car quickly spread into the home. Picture: Video footage from Manuel Scarrone

The couple believe it could take more than six months for insurers to asses the damage at their home, meaning they will be living out of a hotel for the foreseeable future.

They have launched a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise money to help restore the house to the way it was before.

Anybody who wishes to donate can do so at this link.

Pet dog Gizmo managed to escape the flames
Pet dog Gizmo managed to escape the flames

Meanwhile, they are continuing to help the police with their investigation into the shocking incident - and are being provided with regular updates.

“It’s hard to believe it has happened to us. The property, the way it is at the moment, it’s heartbreaking,” Valentin said.

“The whole thing, you don’t expect it to happen - not to you personally, not to your house, not the way it happened.

“Everything is a bit of a shocker.”

Police previously confirmed that it was a grey Vauxhall Mokka which struck the house.

Enquiries led officers to arrest two teenage boys on Lynn Street a short while later.

They were taken to the Lynn Police Investigation Centre, where they were questioned on suspicion of arson endangering life, aggravated vehicle taking, drink and drug-driving, and driving without a licence or insurance.

They were subsequently released on bail pending further investigation, with conditions not to enter Lancaster Road.



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