Update: Unstable five-storey chimney to be dismantled brick by brick at fire-ravaged Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds

A CRANE with a cage is due to arrive at 5pm today so work can begin to remove the chimney of Cupola House, home to Strada restaurant, in The Traverse brick by brick.

Speaking earlier today, a spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which has taken over as lead agency for the recovery phase, said the chimney could fall either way.

This has meant four businesses remain shut on the Buttermarket - Nationwide, Lloyds Bank, Specsavers and Phones 4u - meanwhile, in Cornhill protective scaffolding has been installed at Halifax, Harriet’s cafe and Laura Ashley so they are set to re-open.

The council spokeswoman said overnight engineers had carefully removed rubble from Skinner Street - at the back of Cupola House - but in doing so they uncovered an unstable wall which needs to be secured before further work can continue.

It is tied into the main chimney stack and there is a risk that it could bring the stack down.

Tonight, equipment will be brought in to allow the main chimney stack to be reduced by hand to roof level so the wall can then be untied from the chimney in a controlled way.

This work is weather dependent as the cage and crane cannot be used in wet and windy conditions, and it may take until the weekend for this to be completed.

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The fire - which began just before 9pm on Saturday in the basement - is still smouldering.

Extinguishing the fire is a priority, the spokeswoman said, as well as salvaging any material that can either be reused or used as templates, clearing rubble and getting all the remaining closed businesses open.

As well as the businesses mentioned above, Sahara, Jessops and Bella Lingerie in The Traverse remain closed.

Seven people have had to find alternative living accommodation due to the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious.