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Summary

  1. Updates from Thursday 15 January 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Andrew Humphrey

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's it for BBC Local Live for today - we will return at 08:00 on Friday.

South Oxfordshire fires - Roundup

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a huge fire engulfed

council offices in Crowmarsh Gifford, and there were fires at a funeral parlour and thatched cottages in Roke Marsh.

Crowmarsh Gifford fire
PA

Gas canisters were found at all three sites and 30 people were evacuated from their houses in Roke Marsh, but have now returned home.

The bomb squad were enlisted to ensure that buildings were safe and the police are investigating the three fires as a linked criminal act.

Evening TV

BBC South Today

Tonight we are live from the village of Crowmarsh Gifford, where it's been an extraordinary and dramatic day.

Tune in for the full story at

18:30 on BBC One.

Wet and cold overnight

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

This evening will start off mostly dry and then

we'll get a band of showers working their way down from the north.

Bee Tucker
BBC

The rain will be heavy with the risk of hail and thunder, behind that though the skies will clear so rural spots will see temperatures drop to 0C (32F).

'Huge fire'

An eyewitness to the Roke Marsh blaze which

engulfed three buildings has described the fire as "huge".

Roke Marsh fire
Jackie Williams

Jackie Williams lives nearby and took this picture of the fire.

Feedback

What do you think of BBC Local Live?

It's written by reporters across Oxfordshire and brings you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place.

We'd like your feedback about this service.

Will fire affect the election?

Helen Catt

BBC Oxford Political Reporter

South Oxfordshire District Council is in charge of running the polling during the general election for Henley, Wantage and Oxford West and Abingdon.

We asked the

Electoral Commission how this devastating fire could affect the councils ability to run the election, and they said that they could not think of a similar disaster that had happened so close to a vote.

They did say that all councils have a Disaster Risk Management Plan for exactly this sort of scenario so activating that should ensure all is fine.

No deceased harmed at funeral parlour

BBC Radio Oxford

A funeral parlour was damaged in one of three fires in south Oxfordshire this morning, apparently as part of a

spree of arson attacks.

Sandra Chadwick
BBC

Co-owner Sandra Chadwick told

BBC Radio Oxford that only the front of the shop had been set alight.

She said: "We're relieved that it was just the front of the premises and the rear seems to be all intact. We'd like to reassure all our families that no deceased have been harmed in any way."

Police thanks the public

Thames Valley Police South Oxon & VOWH

tweets: We would like to thank the public for their support & patience

Supt Andy Boyd
TVP

News on the hour

Phil Mercer

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A fourth property is being searched after a three separate blazes in south Oxfordshire and the arrest of a 47-year-old man on suspicion of arson.

You can hear the latest on the fires and the other headlines online at

17:00.

Planning department 'disappeared'

The chief executive of South Oxfordshire District Council has said their focus now was on ensuring all vital services were kept going, but said services would be affected by the

damage to their building.

Fire appliances at Crowmarsh Gifford fire
BBC

He said: "Planning is going to be very difficult. The planning department has pretty much disappeared. It's going to be very hard to provide any services that that are provided directly from here. Happily that isn't too many in the short term."

Photos from the scene

Adina Campbell

Reporter, BBC South Today

This block at the back of the council building is totally burnt out. Just the framework left.

Council framework
BBC

'Believe no-one injured'

Supt Andy Boyd: "We believe no-one has been injured, however all three buildings are being searched and examined for their safety."

Supt Int Andy Boyd
BBC

Evacuated residents take refuge in village hall

Marianne Bell

Editor, BBC Radio Oxford

Thirty Roke Marsh residents are sheltering at the village hall after being evacuated form their homes.

Tom Williams
BBC

One resident, Tom Williams, (pictured) says tea is flowing and hopes are high to be home in a few hours.

Benson lane reopens

Benson Lane in Crowmarsh Gifford has reopened after being shut following the fire at the council offices.

Keep up to date with the

BBC Travel website.

News on the hour

Phil Mercer

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Gas canisters have been found at the scenes of all three major fires in south Oxfordshire.

Join me for the latest on this at

16:00.

Live from Crowmarsh Gifford

Paul Kiernan

Producer, BBC Radio Oxford

Today's

David Prever show will be broadcast live from Crowmarsh Gifford, at the site of the South Oxfordshire District Council building fire.

Crowmarsh Gifford fire
BBC

Join David and the team for the latest from

16:00.

Emergency phone line

South Oxfordshire District Council has a number of frontline services disrupted after a

fire at their offices this morning.

On a

temporary website the council has listed the unaffected services which include:

  • Waste collections and street cleaning
  • Housing benefits payments
  • Council tax payments by phone: 0845 303 8506 (South residents) or 0845 372 3201 (Vale residents)

There is also an emergency line for urgent enquiries, for example if people are at risk of being made homeless today, or they have a dangerous structure that needs urgent inspection: 01235 520202.

Fire car 'not identifiable'

A car appears to have been driven into the foyer of the South Oxfordshire District Council building in Crowmarsh Gifford which was one of

three buildings ablaze overnight.

SODC building fire
other

Thames Valley Police's Supt Andy Boyd told a press conference that the make and model of the car had not be identified.

He said: "Unfortunately the car is extensively burnt out."

Fires under control

Henley Standard

A fire which tore through South Oxfordshire District Council's offices is

now under control, according to Oxfordshire County Council.

Services affected

Helen Catt

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

The leader of South Oxfordshire District Council says it's working to get services "back up to speed as quickly as possible".

Both South Oxfordshire District Council and Vale of White Horse District Council say housing benefit payments should be made as normal, but other housing services could be affected.

'Many council services not affected'

Councillor John Cotton says: "Many of the services of the district council have not been affected."

Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council John Cotton
BBC

'No links to terrorism'

Adina Campbell

Reporter, BBC South Today

I've been at the press conference about the fires, where police said gas canisters were found in the car which had ploughed into the front of the South Oxfordshire District Council offices.

Police press conference
BBC

Police say there are no links to terrorism.

Roke Marsh work ongoing

The police and fire service are continuing to work in Roke Marsh on making the area safe after three fires in

south Oxfordshire overnight.

Crowmarsh Gifford fire
BBC

Supt Andy Boyd told a press conference: "There is some activity ongoing at Roke Marsh at the moment, where we are making an address safe.

"We are searching another address at the moment at Roke, and the bomb squad were called as there are gas canisters are that premises."

'Saddened to hear of fire'

West Oxfordshire District Council

tweets: Saddened to hear of the fire
@SouthOxon DC offices & nearby properties today. We're offering support wherever poss

Fires impact on roads

There is still disruption on the roads caused by today's fires at both Crowmarsh and Roke.

For the latest, go to the

BBC Travel site.

News on the hour

Phil Mercer

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A fourth property is being searched after three separate blazes in south Oxfordshire.

Join me for the latest at

14:00.

'Criminal not terrorism'

BBC Radio Oxford

The

three fires in south Oxfordshire are being treated as a "criminal act, not terrorism", Supt Andy Boyd from Thames Valley Police has said.

Crowmarsh Gifford fire
BBC

He went on to say that there were no reports of injuries, but 30 people from Roke Marsh had been evacuated from their homes.

'Half the building destroyed'

Ian Negus, who lives near the council building, took a

number of pictures of the
fire at South Oxfordshire District Council buildings and described the scene when the blaze was at its height.

Crowmarsh Gifford fire
Ian Negus

He said: "I heard a lot of crackling, a lot of popping, looked out of the window and there were 60ft flames coming from the council building. A car had driven into the foyer and that whole area was lit up, absolutely ablaze.

"What happened then was the wind was coming in across the field, which really engulfed the flames, and actually then half the building now has been destroyed."

Roads still closed near fires

The

fires in south Oxfordshire have affected nearby roads with roads near Roke junction closed, and Benson Lane in Crowmarsh Gifford closed between the Street junction and the A4074 junction.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest on the

BBC Travel website.

Coming up

BBC Radio Oxford

BBC Radio Oxford will have live coverage of the police and fire service press conference from Crowmarsh Gifford.

You can listen live

here.

Twitter reaction

Laura Higgins

tweets:
@edvaizey
@SouthOxon Started my working life at SODC, very sad :-(

Emma's crafty Kids

tweets:
@SouthOxon Hope nobody has been injured and wishing you all the best getting up and running properly xxx

Lee Duddell

tweets: Gutted to hear of the
@SouthOxon fire. Have worked with many people there, pleased nobody hurt.

Press conference now at 13:30

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

Oxfordshire Fire Service and Thames Valley Police will now hold a press conference on the

three south Oxfordshire fires at 13:30, slightly later than originally planned.

Supt Andy Boyd, the local policing area commander for South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse, will be joined by chief fire officer David Etheridge.

We'll have all the top updates here on Local Live.

Local MP 'shocked'

Ed Vaizey

tweets: Shocked by fire
@SouthOxon offices, glad there appear to be no injuries, thanks once again to emergency services for their excellent work

News on the hour

Phil Mercer

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

Three fires in south Oxfordshire are now under control, according to the fire and rescue service.

Join me for the latest at

13:00.

Bomb squad called in to make fires safe

BBC Radio Oxford

An army bomb disposal team has been involved with making

three fires in south Oxfordshire safe according to the chief fire officer of Oxfordshire.

Roke Marsh cottage fire
BBC

David Etheridge told

BBC Radio Oxford's Howard Bentham that he believed gas cylinders had been used in all three fires.

He said: "There has been the potential that gas cylinders have been used, and we have the ability to call upon our colleagues in bomb disposal just to make sure that the scene is maintained in terms of a safe area."

Police press conference

Thames Valley Police

tweets: We are holding a press conference at the scene of the fire
@southoxon , Benson Lane, Crowmarsh, Gifford, at 1pm today

Fires 'under control'

BBC Radio Oxford

The fires at

three south Oxfordshire locations are now under control, according to David Etheridge, the county's chief fire officer.

He told

BBC Radio Oxford: "We're in the damping down turning over phase, making sure that the fire is completely out and that the fire investigation will take place."

He added: "We will try and bring normality to the area as quickly as we can."