Update: Investigation concludes thatched roof blaze at Brooke was “accidental”

Firefighters in action at the thatch cottage fire in Brooke. Picture: Denise Bradley Firefighters in action at the thatch cottage fire in Brooke. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, March 1, 2014
8:35 PM

An investigation has concluded that a fire which destroyed the thatched roof of a house at Brooke was accidental

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Firefighters in action at the thatch cottage fire in Brooke. Picture: Denise BradleyFirefighters in action at the thatch cottage fire in Brooke. Picture: Denise Bradley

Crews from Loddon, Carrow, Earlham, Sprowston, Wymondham, Herthersett and Fakenham were called to reports of the fire in the roof of the property after the alarm was raised by a member of the public at about 2.45pm yesterday.

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The major fire service response, which included an aerial ladder platform and two water carriers, saw a total of 53 firefighters at the incident at its height.

Station manager Duncan Ashworth from North Earlham went to the property this morning and conducted an investigation which concluded that it was an “accidental fire most likely caused by a spark from the chimney”.

Two appliances, including an aerial ladder platform, remained at the scene to monitor the situation this morning but all crews left by about noon.

Group manager Greg Preston from Carrow, said firefighters had used the aerial platform to “fight the fire from above”.

He said: “On our arrival we had quite a well-developed fire in the roof of a detached property which spread very quickly after we arrived.”

Firefighters remained on scene well into the night to extinguish the fire which caused a considerable amount of structural damage as well as destroying the roof.

No-one was in the property at the time the fire started but while no-one was hurt there was a considerable effort to rescue valuables from the damaged property – including artwork.

Mr Preston said: “There’s an art studio on the left-hand side at the end and so we salvaged the lady’s artwork and looked to get as many valuables out as we could.”

The weight of the roof that had collapsed in addition to the weight of the water being propelled at the fire meant the salvage operation had to be confined to certain parts of the property as there was the potential for further areas of collapse.

There was also concern that a gable end of the property might collapse and fall on to the garage so firefighters ensured the owner’s vehicle was removed.

A preliminary investigation into what caused the fire was started yesterday but with the firefighting operation still ongoing into the night Mr Preston said it would be at least today before a proper probe was likely to get under way.

The owners of the cottage did not want to speak about the fire.

At just after 3.30pm today crews from Earlham, Sprowston and Carrow attended a chimney fire in a Thatched property in Kirby Bedon. They used chimney equipment to extinguish.

Would you like to pay tribute to firefighters for saving your life or property? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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