Country thatch saved from destruction

A THATCHED cottage was saved from devastation last night by nearly 50 firefighters after flames spread through the chimney to the building’s roof.

Eight fire crews from across two counties fought the potentially devastating blaze in East Bergholt, near Colchester.

The fire started as flames from a log fire broke through a crack in the chimney of the rural detached home in Flatford Lane.

Firefighters from Suffolk and Essex were called to the scene by the home’s owners shortly after 6pm. Half of the property’s thatched roof was alight when the first crews arrived but the rest of the building was left undamaged thanks to cautionary repair work carried out several years ago.

Fire chiefs last night highlighted the significance of a fire-boarded roof in preventing the fire from spreading further than the thatched exterior. Group fire and rescue service manager, Dave Pedersen, praised his team for their efforts in dealing with the flames, which were under control within two hours of their arrival. “They did an absolutely fantastic job,” he said. “From outside the building the owners had noticed some smoke coming from the thatch near the chimney. They called us straight away and we came out with eight appliances. Crews worked fantastically hard to prevent the fire moving into the house.”

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No one was injured in the fire but the owners of the cottage were said to be shaken by the drama.

The main structure was left undamaged because of preventative fire-boarding, which can provide up to four hours of resistance. Mr Pedersen added: “Thatched roofs are renowned to be vulnerable to fire and our first thought was that we would be here all night and the owners would lose their home. But the roof had been recently fire-boarded and that bought us enough time to protect the rest of the house.”

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