Gritting workers praised after Blenheim Palace fire
Road-gritting workers in Oxfordshire have been praised for helping crews get to a fire at Blenheim Palace.
Firefighters were called to a small blaze on the roof of the 18th Century country house in Woodstock on Tuesday.
The fire is believed to have started after staff used a flamed torch to heat external frozen pipes, accidentally setting a bird's nest alight.
Oxfordshire fire service's Kerry Blair said gritting around the palace helped fire vehicles arrive rapidly.
He praised the work of Oxfordshire County Council, adding: "We managed to bring this to a successful conclusion very quickly."
The incident comes as Thames Water reported a four-fold rise in calls from customers about burst pipes.
The firm advised people to use hair-dryers to warm pipes rather than blowtorches.
Blenheim Palace, which is home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, was made a World Heritage Site in 1987.
It is the birthplace of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
The palace and gardens, landscaped by Capability Brown, are currently closed to the public.