Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Fire crews fight 'intense' roof blaze in Sopley

Thatched fire in Sopley Image copyright Simon Rowley
Image caption Crews remained at the scene throughout the night

Fire crews fought an "intense" blaze in Hampshire after the roof of a thatched cottage caught fire.

Seven crews from the New Forest and Dorset battled the blaze in Sopley, Christchurch at 17:41 GMT on Thursday.

Fire officer Sandy Thompson said the firefighters did a "fantastic job in salvaging most of the contents of the house whilst fighting the fire from outside".

The cause of the blaze is not yet known and an investigation is under way.

Derek Slade, a resident of Sopley all his life, called the fire "absolutely terrible".

Image caption The damage to the cottage was assessed on Friday morning

He said: "We opened the front door and couldn't see across the road for smoke. It was absolutely chaotic.

"I told them I'd get a florescent jacket and stand on the corner to direct the traffic because it was a gridlock.

"Everybody chipped in and sorted it out.

Image copyright Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Crews had to fight the fire from outside because the chimney stack was unstable

"It gets you choked because it was a lovely place. It's a shock."

Mr Thompson praised neighbours who helped the firefighters.

"Once furniture was removed from the house, several villagers joined in the salvage operation," he said.

"It was a really good effort by all the local neighbours, and the furnishings were moved to a safe outbuilding.

"During the fire the chimney stack had become unstable so it wasn't safe for our crews to fight the fire from inside."

The cause of the fire is not thought to be suspicious.

Image copyright Hampshire fire and rescue service
Image caption The fire started in Sopley at 17:41 GMT

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