Blaze destroys two storey house

A FIRE thought to have been started by renovation work engulfed two semi-detached houses, although a nearby thatched cottage escaped undamaged.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in The Causeway, Toppesfield, at 10.25am yesterday, which destroyed the roof and left the first floor severely damaged.

The semi-detached properties were undergoing refurbishment work to the outside of the roof when the fire broke out.

Fire crews from Sible Hedingham, Wethersfield, Halstead and Clare attended the blaze, but could not enter the property until overhead electricity cables had been switched off.

Greg Keys, assistant divisional officer for Essex Fire Service, said: “Once they isolated the supply, we could get our crews up to fight the fire from above with ladders.

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“We put some covering jets in place for a thatched cottage next door because obviously there was a big risk of that catching fire, so one of our first priorities was to restrict any fire spreading to properties in close proximity.

“The roof is almost completely gone and there is extensive damage to the first floor.”

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Mr Keys added: “We would like to remind people to be extra vigilant when undertaking any paint stripping using blow torches when redecorating.

“Fires can start and burn for some time and people may not even be aware of it until it becomes quite a well developed fire.”

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