House gutted by thatch blaze

A THATCHED house has been completely destroyed in a blaze which was tackled by around 50 firefighters.Fire crews from across the county were sent to the B1024 Coggeshall Road between Earls Colne and Coggeshall tonight.

By Annie Davidson

A THATCHED house has been completely destroyed in a blaze which was tackled by around 50 firefighters.

Fire crews from across the county were sent to the B1024 Coggeshall Road between Earls Colne and Coggeshall last night.

Efforts to tackle the fire were initially frustrated when low water pressure in the area meant just one hose could be used.


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Firefighters used pumps to take water from a nearby pond and went in relays to fill their fire engines with water from the main hydrant in Earls Colne which they then transported back to the scene.

High winds fanned the fire which eventually spread to the entire building. Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus had begun a salvage operation to rescue some of the owner's possessions.

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This was stopped due to safety fears after the roof became unstable.

Mark James, senior divisional officer, said: “There were very high winds driving the fire and the fire got into the thatch and then the wind pushed it across.

“The only way to stop a thatch fire is to cut a break in the thatch, if you can get the personnel on the roof and get some water. But with the shortage of water and the high winds this just wasn't possible.”

Mr James said a glasshouse in the garden was completely filled with furniture that was saved before the salvage effort was halted.

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

The fire is believed to have started in a garage next to the house but high winds meant it quickly spread to the property. The electricity board was also called to the fire after overhead cables caught alight.

Firefighters were due to stay at the house all night and an investigation into the cause of the blaze will be carried out.

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