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Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has attended a serious fire at a thatched cottage in Woodgreen near Fordingbridge. The alarm was raised at 00:41 today [Thursday, 11 November 2010] and Control operators swiftly mobilised crews from across the New Forest to tackle the blaze.
Firefighters from Fordingbridge, Ringwood, New Milton and Burley attended the incident and assistance was also provided from across the Wiltshire and Dorset borders, with both Salisbury and Cranbourne fire crews in attendance.
Ancillary appliances included water carriers from Fordingbridge and Lyndhurst, the Multi-Role Vehicle from Eastleigh, St Mary’s Special Equipment Unit, as well as the Incident Command Unit, Command Support provided by Beaulieu, and the Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS), which is delivered by trained British Red Cross volunteers.
With additional support staff in attendance, such as the Duty Operational Equipment Technician, in total over 80 fire service personnel tackled the challenging incident. Crews remain on the scene this morning [05:30] and a fire investigation will seek to establish the cause.
Area Manager Andy Bowers of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service paid tribute to the firefighters. He said:
“Both the roof and first floor of the thatched cottage were well alight when our fire crews first arrived on the scene. The incident could potentially have been much worse though, had crews not acted so quickly and efficiently, with adjacent properties being so close. As with most thatched property fires, the fire spread very quickly and unfortunately both the roof and first floor were severely damaged. Firefighters from Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Dorset worked closely together to salvage contents from the ground floor of the property.
“I would also like to acknowledge the involvement of the Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS), which is delivered by trained British Red Cross volunteers, in providing support to the residents affected by this incident.”
Around 90 per cent of Hampshire is rural and, as such, there are considerable numbers of thatched properties in the county. A thatched roof is always at risk from fire and once a fire has taken hold in a thatch it will spread rapidly. The commonest causes of fire in a thatched building are faulty flues, stray sparks from the chimney, electrical faults, lightening affecting the television aerial, discarded cigarettes, and garden bonfires.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice to thatched property householders:
Experience has shown that people are more aware of the dangers of fire and more responsive to advice in the aftermath of a fire in their own residential area. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will therefore be visiting premises in the close vicinity of this incident to provide fire safety advice to local residents.
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