Four thatched cottages involved in devastating fire

More than 100 firefighters were mobilised to the blaze in Bransbury at 16:17 on Sunday 7 March.


09/03/2021 2:03pm


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service

The fire took hold of the roof space of two thatched cottages, before spreading to a third. Firefighters worked quickly to protect and save the fourth thatched property in the terrace.

The chimneys of two of the cottages collapsed during the firefighting.

Ten people from across the four properties were safe and accounted for.

At its height, 19 fire engines and 116 firefighters were tackling the flames.

Firefighters from Andover, Sutton Scotney, Stockbridge, Whitchurch, Overton, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Winchester, St Mary’s, Rushmoor, Totton, Alton, Fareham, Botley, Beaulieu, Fleet, Wickham, Redbridge, Hightown, Hartley Wintney, Newbury and Ludgershall were sent to the village near Winchester throughout the night.

Basingstoke’s aerial ladder platform and the environmental protection unit from Romsey were also in attendance.

Hampshire Police and South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) were on scene to support firefighters, where Bransbury Lane was closed for several hours.

The British Red Cross (BRC) were also requested to provide emergency support for the occupants.

Firefighters managed to recover as many of the occupant’s belongings as possible during a salvage operation.

At 04:00 it was scaled down to two pumps who remain on scene this morning to remove the thatch and protect the fourth cottage.

Three of the four cottages have been 100% destroyed by the incident, whilst the fourth remains safe and unaffected.

In daylight hours, an inspection of the affected properties will be carried out by an officer and an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) structural engineer.

Incident Commander Rob Cole said:

“thank you to all the emergency services who attended this unfortunate incident and worked hard throughout the night to save the properties and household belongings. Thankfully, there were no casualties and we’re pleased one of the cottages could be saved.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to our firefighters and control room staff, and also thank SCAS, Hampshire Police, BRC, and our border colleagues Dorset and Wiltshire and Royal Berkshire fire services for their support.”

Update 09/03/21 08:30

Regular inspections and salvage operations are still underway to dampen down hotspots and turn over thatch. The cause is undetermined yet due to the building being structurally unsafe, however it is not thought to be suspicious.

Update 09/03/21 14:00

The stop message for this incident came in at 13:29 on Tuesday 9 March. Three of the cottages are 100% damaged by fire and water and have also partially collapsed internally. The fourth cottage has suffered light smoke damage.

Equipment used to extinguish this fire include; breathing apparatus, covering jets, hose reels and compressed air foam solution. Fire prevention advice has been passed to the wider community and a handover was completed with the owners.

Watch Manager Aidy Wellock, from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety team, said:

“The fire in Bransbury shows how important it is for those living in thatched properties to make sure they have working smoke alarms fitted on every level of their homes. Many thatch owners have a smoke alarm in their roof space as well and this can give an early warning that can prove vital.

“There are many ways for a thatched property to catch fire – from ejected embers, chimney fires or electrical faults, to external factors such as fireworks or sky lanterns.

“If a fire does start, please get out, stay out and call 999.”

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