Essex cottage thatched roof collapses in fire

A 91-year-old woman and two other people managed to escape when a fire engulfed the thatched roof of an Essex cottage, causing it to collapse.

More than 50 firefighters from Essex and Hertfordshire were called to Chickney Road in Henham on Saturday.

The roof of the two-storey cottage was 100% alight upon arrival, but all three people had managed to get out uninjured, the fire service said.

Crews worked through the night and were "damping down" by 10:00 BST on Sunday.

More than 10 fire engines had gone to the incident at 18:18 on Saturday, with 30 firefighters still on site two hours later.

The fire was extinguished shortly before midnight, but crews stayed on to ensure none of the hot thatch re-ignited.

Speaking late on Saturday night, assistant divisional officer Dave Barritt said: "As a result of the fire taking hold of the thatched roof it has now collapsed into the first floor of the cottage.

"The crews have managed to salvage and save as many personal belongings for the owners of the cottage as possible."

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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