Fire crews strip away thatch to save home in Essex

Quick work by fire crews called to a fire at a thatched cottage in Essex has been praised for preventing serious damage to the building.

Three fire engines from Essex and two from Suffolk were called to the fire at the house in Church Road, Wormingford, north of Colchester.

Fire spread from a chimney into the roof. Crews pulled away thatch from the affected area by hand.

At the same time fire hoses were directed at the seat of the fire.

Chimney fault

Station officer John Harris said: "Crews did an excellent job getting on top of and extinguishing this fire so quickly.

"Often fires in thatched properties lead to widespread damage.

"The fire appears to have started in the chimney. They had lit their fireplace and there must have been a fault in the chimney which allowed fire to get in the roof.

"Because crews had all arrived so quickly we were able to get four ladders up to the chimney and strip the thatch away.

"It is difficult, labour intensive work but crews worked really hard and we had quickly stripped the roof away and prevented the spread of the fire.

"At the same time we carried out a salvage operation to prevent the water from our hoses from damaging their property.

"The fire was quickly extinguished then we covered the holes in the roof with salvage sheets to help keep out the worst of the weather."

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