Bride’s relief as wedding dress saved from blaze in Gosfield, near Halstead
- Credit: Su Anderson
All brides-to-be dream of their wedding day going off without a hitch, but for one Halstead woman her big day almost went up in smoke.
That was until heroic firefighters helped rescue her wedding dress from an industrial estate blaze yesterday morning.
Charlotte Carter, 29, is due to marry fiancé Paul Halls on August 15, but the wedding was almost derailed when a fire at a vehicle workshop off Hedingham Road, Gosfield, spread to nearby cars.
Around 20 vehicles had caught light at the site, with the flames spreading to a nearby caravan, where Miss Carter’s wedding items were being stored next to her grandparents’ house nearby.
But the quick work of fire crews to lead her grandparents Josie and Buster Tutton to safety, and rescue Miss Carter’s wedding dress has meant the couple’s special day can still go ahead as planned.
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“We were so lucky that no one was hurt because it was such a big fire and my grandparents’ house would have been the next thing to go,” Miss Carter said.
“It was a case of making sure everyone was safe, and then I realised my wedding dress, and wedding shoes, jewellery and centre pieces were all in there.
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“I just want to thank the fire brigade so much – they have saved our wedding!”
Fire crews were called to the site around 1.30am where a vehicle workshop was engulfed in smoke and flames.
Miss Carter also praised the efforts of stock car racer Michael Seex who was able to remove a number of gas cylinders in the workshop that could have made the fire worse.
“He was thanked by the fire brigade, and I want to thank him so much because he was dragging out gas bottles from the workshop to stop them going up in flames. He saw the flames and dragged cars out with his Hi-ab too.”
Firefighters from Halstead, Braintree and Coggeshall attended, and after hours tackling the flames had contained and extinguished the fire by 8am.
Assistant divisional officer Danny Partridge said: “Crews arrived to find an already well established and fiercely burning fire which had engulfed around half the workshop and involved more than 20 vehicles.
“There were also a number of cylinders in the building which further complicated firefighting operations.
“The first crews to arrive did an excellent job of stopping the fire and preventing it from spreading. It is thanks to them that this fire did not engulf the entire building and spread to other buildings on the site.
“Crews also managed to save a caravan at the far end of the building which we later learned had a wedding dress in it.
“If crews hadn’t stopped the fire the caravan, and wedding dress, would have been destroyed.
“The owner is delighted – he says that we saved the wedding!
“A 200-metre hazard zone was established and 12 people were evacuated from their homes because of the dangers posed by the cylinders. But the hazard zone has been reduced so everyone has been able to return.
“Crews have done an excellent job at this incident containing and controlling a fierce fire and dealing with the complications added by the cylinders and vehicles involved.”
Keen not to suffer more bad luck ahead of her big day, Miss Carter refused to pose with the wedding dress so that her fiancé does not see it, but she couldn’t be happier at how the firefighters worked.
“I just cannot thank them enough,” she enthused.