It could have been a great deal worse !
Hertfordshire Mercury, 12th December 1914
At Hoddesdon, early on Friday morning, Police Constable Berry, when on his beat, was passing Doctor S. H. Appleford’s residence in West Hill when he noticed a dull red light in the kitchen. On closer inspection he found that the kitchen ceiling was smouldering. He at once gave the alarm and, immediately afterwards, the Fire Brigade had been informed and were promptly en route for the fire.
In the meantime, Constable Berry, with the assistance of Dr Appleford, rendered yeoman service, and when the Brigade arrived, they had already got the fire well under control. The firemen very quickly put it out before it had a chance to spread. But for the alert and keen observation of Constable Berry, and his promptness with the doctor, afterwards followed by the quick and valuable assistance of the Brigade, the fire would undoubtedly have burst out into flames and spread to the other parts of the house, and there would have been a big conflagration.
It is supposed that the fire originated in the workroom over the kitchen. The kitchen ceiling was burnt through and considerable damage, chiefly through smoke and water, was done to the workroom and the kitchen. Two valuable parrots were suffocated. The damage was estimated at £100.