High street closed after fire crews called to rooftop

Colchester High Street is currently closed while fire crews deal with a small fire Picture: ESSEX PO

Colchester High Street is currently closed while fire crews deal with a small fire Picture: ESSEX POLICE IN COLCHESTER - Credit: Archant

Fire crews in Essex have been called to Colchester High Street after a fire broke out on a rooftop.

Essex County Fire and Rescue were called shortly after 5pm following reports of a roof fire.

The street has been closed while the fire is dealt with.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue said: “Crews are currently at the scene of a roof fire in a building on Colchester High Street.

“The Incident Commander has ordered four fire engines and one aerial ladder platform to assist in tackling the fire.

“At 6.40pm the Incident Commander confirmed that the aerial ladder platform was no longer needed and the fire had been extinguished.

“At 7.20pm Crews reported they were cutting away smouldering exposed beams as well as clearing the whole building of smoke.

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“Crews expect to be on site for some time to ensure the fire is completely out.”

Fire crews left the scene at 8pm.

Station Manager Danny Partridge said:“This is an old building with a flat roof and large voids in the roof and between levels.

“The fire travelled across the flat roof undetected, towards an ornate glass dome, which worked to ventilate the fire and assist it spreading. The flames then spread down the voids on the first floor and towards the basement, which also left the building full of smoke.

“We were fortunate that the current scaffolding and hoists surrounding the building assisted us in quickly moving our equipment and our firefighters to where they needed to be.

“I’m in no doubt that the initial crews saved this building. Their rapid actions, and the robust and dynamic tactics they demonstrated in tacking the fire were exceptional and made all the difference.

“The building has suffered sever damage to the roof and the voids on the first floor, though thankfully the ornate dome is still in tact and there was minimal water damage.

“We now know the fire was caused accidentally by contractors who were carrying out work.

“We think the initial sparks may have happened some time before but the fire went unnoticed. We did hear reports that people in the area may have suspected that there was a fire nearby but were unsure.

“My message to anyone would be to call us out if you have any suspicion at all that there’s a fire - even if you’re concerned it might be a false alarm it’s always best for us to come and check.”

Essex Police in Colchester tweeted: “High Street temporarily closed whilst Essex County Fire and Rescue Service deal with a small fire on a rooftop.

“No injuries and minimal damage.”

Arriva Herts and Essex buses were being diverted around the area.