Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Roof fire in high street building

High Street, Colchester
04/06/2020 @ 17:12
Incident Number: 124233
In attendance: 3 x Colchester (1 x aerial ladder platform), 1 x Wivenhoe, 1 x Tiptree


Crews are currently at the scene of a roof fire in a building on Colchester High Street.

The Incident Commander has ordered four fire engines and one aerial ladder platform to assist in tackling the fire. 

At 6.40pm the Incident Commander confirmed that the aerial ladder platform was no longer needed and the fire had been extinguished. Crews will continue to dampen and cool down the roof void and make the area safe.

At 7.20pm Crews reported they were cutting away smouldering exposed beams as well as clearing the whole building of smoke. Crews expect to be on site for some time to ensure the fire is completely out.

By 8pm all crews were released from the scene, with a revisit planned for later in the evening. 

Station Manager Danny Partridge said:

"This is an old building with a flat roof and large voids in the roof and between levels. 

"The fire travelled across the flat roof undetected, towards an ornate glass dome, which worked to ventilate the fire and assist it spreading. The flames then spread down the voids on the first floor and towards the basement, which also left the building full of smoke.

"We were fortunate that the current scaffolding and hoists surrounding the building assisted us in quickly moving our equipment and our firefighters to where they needed to be.

"I’m in no doubt that the initial crews saved this building. Their rapid actions, and the robust and dynamic tactics they demonstrated in tacking the fire were exceptional and made all the difference. 

"The building has suffered sever damage to the roof and the voids on the first floor, though thankfully the ornate dome is still in tact and there was minimal water damage. 

"We now know the fire was caused accidentally by contractors who were carrying out work. 

"We think the initial sparks may have happened some time before but the fire went unnoticed. We did hear reports that people in the area may have suspected that there was a fire nearby but were unsure.

"My message to anyone would be to call us out if you have any suspicion at all that there’s a fire - even if you’re concerned it might be a false alarm it’s always best for us to come and check." 


Could you be an on-call firefighter? 

Some of the firefighters who attended this incident are on-call firefighters who live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station and are paid to protect their local community. 

To find out more about the role and how you can apply, visit: join.essex-fire.gov.uk/on-call

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