Bradwell-on-Sea: Investigators rule fire that destroyed the King’s Head pub was an accident

The King's Head, Bradwell. Photo: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

The King's Head, Bradwell. Photo: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service - Credit: Archant

A fire investigation has ruled the blaze that destroyed the King’s Head pub Bradwell on Friday was an accident.

The investigation has concluded that it appears the blaze was sparked by a chip pan left unattended in advance of evening service.

Firefighters working at the scene were also praised for their work in protecting heritage buildings close to the pub blaze.

The blaze started at around 4.45pm with four crews, one each from Burnham and South Woodham Ferrers and two from Maldon, being sent to the scene.

On arrival, the aerial ladder platform from Chelmsford was requested immediately to help fight the fire.

More than 300 square metres of roof was reported as being alight with crews using four jets and four hose reels to contain the blaze.

At about 6.30pm crews managed to prevent the fire posing a risk to neighbouring properties, with the blaze fully extinguished just before 7pm.

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Incident commander assistant divisional officer Dave Moore also praised the efforts of a local farmer who brought much-needed water to the scene at the height of the blaze.

Mr Moore said: “Bradwell has some of the oldest historical buildings in the country and the pub on the High Street sits at the heart of some very old properties.

“Crews did an excellent job in protecting the village heritage - they worked quickly and under great pressure not only to tackle the blaze but in making sure surrounding risks were protected.

“We owe particular thanks to a local farmer – with low water supplies in the area, he played a critical role in delivering water to the scene when it was needed most. In fact the entire community were fantastic, supporting crews in their work.”

Divisional officer Lee Lucas, who headed the fire investigation, said although the cause was accidental, there were lessons to be learned from the cause of the fire.

He added: “It appears the owners of the pub were preparing for evening service.

“They cleaned out the industrial chip pan, refilled it and then went up to watch the golf, propping open a fire door.

“All these things added up – the distraction, leaving cooking unattended and finally the importance of closed doors to prevent fire spread.”