Bury St Edmunds: Cupola House blaze started in kitchen, investigators say

AN INVESTIGATION has found the cause of a devastating blaze at a restaurant in Bury St Edmunds was accidental, spreading via the kitchen ventilation system.

The fire at historic Cupola House, which was home to Strada restaurant, in the Traverse on June 16 caused severe damage to the Grade I-Listed building.

There had been rumours about the cause of the blaze and how it spread through the 17th Century building, but now Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has revealed the outcome of its investigation.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Following an investigation carried out by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, we have concluded that the fire at Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds, started accidentally in the basement kitchen of the building and then spread to the rest of the building initially via the kitchen ventilation system.

“The exact fault that led to the fire is still being investigated by the various insurance companies involved, however we know that it started on, in or around the main oven.”

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Alan Jary, chairman of the Bury Society, said the news was really “as expected”. Architects are now working on achieving a scholarly reconstruction of the building.

Mr Jary said: “There has been no major call for a complete demolition and putting something brand new and modern and totally different there and because there’s a surprising amount of the original building, restoration is the obvious thing.”

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Chris Betts, from Purcell architects, had previously given an estimated timescale of 18 months to two years for the reconstruction.

The design of the scaffolding in the Traverse has been reconfigured, opening up lit walkways at ground level and restoring the line of sight along the full length of the street.

A free event on the unfolding story of Cupola House is taking place today at 2.30pm at the Apex in the town.

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