Huge blaze at Grade II listed Kelsale Hall is likely to destroy the entire building
- Credit: Gareth Perkins, Suffolk Fire and Rescue
The best efforts of 80 firefighters look unlikely to save an historic Suffolk mansion from being completely destroyed by a huge blaze.
Kelsale Hall, a Grade II listed building near Saxmundham, is feared to be unsalvageable after a fire tore through two floors last night and left it too dangerous for crews to tackle from the inside.
Area commander Ian Bowell said crews had entered the building when they first arrived on the scene last night, however it soon became apparent it would be unsafe to continue.
“It’s an old building,” he said, speaking from the scene.
“There are lots of voids within it, so the fire spread very rapidly and it became unsafe very quickly.
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“Once we had established the fire had spread from the ground floor to the roof space, we had to leave.”
A total of 12 crews from across the county attended in an attempt to save the historic mansion, which is situated amid a large country estate, thought to be around 3,500 acres.
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Mr Bowell said it took up to 30 firefighters to bring water to the site.
Overnight, the response was scaled down to eight crews and two special units.
They used hose reel jets to fight the fire, which is thought to still be burning in the roof area.
The house itself is set several hundred metres back from the A12, which meant crews needed to join together nearly a kilometre of hose pipe to reach the building.
Further support vehicles and two aerial latter platforms also attended the blaze.
While the house itself looks to be lost, Mr Bowell said he hoped several annexes and outbuildings could still be saved.
Crews also managed to protect three 1,000 litre fuel tanks from catching fire, which he said could have caused an environmental hazard.
Several people were reported to be inside the house at the time the fire was first reported at around 5.45pm.
However, Mr Bowell said no one was injured and the worst consequence was the loss of the historic building itself.
“It’s an absolutely tragic loss,” he added.
“We are never pleased to see a building which we are not able to save, despite our best efforts.”
Kelsale Hall is known for its well-established game bird shoot, which has been running for more than 30 years.
The farmland was put up for sale in 2011 when it was valued at more than £19million.