Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Thatched cottage fire

School Lane, Great Horkesley
20/11/2021 @ 01:32
Incident Number: 156761
In attendance: 2 x Colchester, 1 x Clacton, 1 x Wivenhoe, 1 x Coggeshall, 1 x Witham, 1 x Halstead, 1 x Weeley, 1 x Chelmsford, 1 x Tiptree, 1 x Manningtree, 2 x Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service


Firefighters were called to reports of a fire in a home in Great Horkesley in the early hours of Saturday morning.

On arrival, crews confirmed that around 25% of the property's thatched roof, which measures around 25 metres by 15 metres, was alight.

Firefighters immediately began fighting the fire from both within and outside the building, and divided the incident into sectors to allow them to control the fire more quickly.

A large number of crews were needed to manually strip away the thatched roof and prevent the fire from spreading any further, while working with the owner to salvage property from within the premises.

Crews worked hard throughout the evening to remove the thatched material, and by 6am had managed to remove roughly 90% of the roof.

By 6.30am, eight new fire crews had arrived to take over at the scene. The incident was under control and beginning to be scaled down, but will require a continued presence throughout most of Saturday due to the need to keep the thatched material away from the fire and eliminate hotspots.

Station Manager Craig McLellan helped to lead our response and said at 7am: "I'd like to thank our crews for their incredibly efficient response to this fire. This was a challenging incident in a very confined area, but they worked hard to bring this fire under control as quickly as possible.

"We were also grateful to have the support of the Salvation Army at the scene for refreshments and support for crews - which makes a genuine difference and isn't something we take for granted. I'd like to thank them for joining us on behalf of everyone who attended this incident.

"Crews will likely be at the scene for most of the day [Saturday] while we make sure the scene is completely safe. Thank you to everyone in the local area for your understanding."

Following a fire investigation, we believe this fire was caused accidentally.

Could you be an on-call firefighter?

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

If you live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more at join.essex-fire.gov.uk/on-call

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