Firefighters fear damage to Grade-II Wokingham building

The back of The Elms building which has been on fire.
Image caption Firefighters are still at The Elms building carrying out investigations

Firefighters are investigating the aftermath of a major fire at a Grade-II listed building in Berkshire.

More than 50 firefighters tackled the large fire in Wokingham after being called out shortly before 03:00 BST.

Broad Street was closed while emergency services deal with the aftermath of the blaze.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said half of the roof of The Elms building, which is centuries old, had been destroyed.

The front of the building dates back 200 years and the interior is believed to contain Tudor beams.

'Structural damage'

Firefighters have removed a chimney on the roof in order to enter the building and make it structurally safe.

They are also concerned about timbers on the inside of the building.

Lincoln Ball, station manager at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said a chimney had been removed following concerns it was "leaning".

He said there could be "structural timber damage" inside the building such as unsupported floors.

Image caption A chimney has been removed to make the building safe

Investigations will now be carried out to find out the cause of the fire.

Vice-chairman of Berkshire Fire Authority and Wokingham borough councillor Pauline Helliar-Symons said the damage to the building was "very sad".

"They are very precious buildings along this street and we're very proud of them.

"I'm really grateful they've managed not to let it spread to any of the buildings on either side, or across the road. They've done a brilliant job of doing that."

A new Wokingham fire station is due to open through the night from 1 October.

At present the station is not open 24 hours a day.

Due to the fire Broad Street was closed in both directions between Denmark Street and Milton Road until the afternoon.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites