Holidaying family unaware of blaze

A FAMILY whose picturesque thatched home was destroyed by an extensive fire were away on holiday when disaster struck, it has emerged.More than 30 firefighters worked through the night to tackle a blaze at the large property on the B1024 Coggeshall Road between Earls Colne and Coggeshall.

A FAMILY whose picturesque thatched home was destroyed by an extensive fire were away on holiday when disaster struck, it has emerged.

More than 30 firefighters worked through the night to tackle a blaze at the large property on the B1024 Coggeshall Road between Earls Colne and Coggeshall.

Crews remained at the house yesterday damping down and continuing their investigations into the cause of the blaze, which started at about 8pm on Sunday.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We can now confirm that the fire started in the neighbour's garage.


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“The neighbour called the fire service and then tried to tackle the fire with a garden hose.”

Investigating officer Bill Yates said: “Unfortunately, because of the wind strength and direction, when the first appliance arrived the fire had spread.

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“It had gone through the wooden garage through the fence and into the garage next door. The embers had been blown on to the thatched roof, setting it alight.”

It is understood efforts have been made to contact the homeowner, Jim Angel, who is on holiday in Cuba.

At the scene yesterday, a visibly shaken woman, who lives in the neighbouring house where the blaze started, said she had been up through the night.

She said: “I don't want to talk about it at the moment - you would not want to come back from holiday would you?”

Back-up was quickly requested when the full extent of the blaze was realised but strong winds fanned the flames, making tackling it even harder.

Crews from Halstead, Sible Hedingham, Coggeshall, Braintree, Colchester and Brentwood went to the fire.

Initial efforts to quell the fire were frustrated by poor water pressure in the area and only one hose could be used at a time.

A salvage operation was carried out with fire crews saving some of the owners' possessions from the building. Electricity engineers also called to the fire after overhead cables caught alight.

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