Stately home collapses in fire

GALLERY Firefighters are today tackling a massive blaze at a former stately home in Essex.

FIREFIGHTERS are today tackling a massive blaze at a former stately home in Essex.

Part of the building in Chigwell has collapsed after three floors caught alight just after 3am this morning, although no-one was inside and there are no casualties.

Fire crews faced a number of obstacles when they arrived at the 20m by 30m house, which is under renovation, and were forced to use a swimming pool and river to maintain a water supply.

The fire, which was brought under control by around 6am, posed a threat to an adjacent leisure centre and is expected to affect commuter traffic on the nearby M11.

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Mick Osbourne, incident commander for Essex Fire Service, said: “It's been a difficult incident to tackle because of the initial problems in maintaining a water supply, along with the age of the building.

“Following the partial collapse of the old building we had to work carefully to get the water supplies going and then in containing the fire to the old part and protecting the new part which is an operational Virgin gym and leisure centre.”

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