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Update: Crews battle thatch cottage fire
7:28pm Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS worked to prevent a thatch roof blaze from spreading after it flared up.
Part of the roof of the cottage in Winterborne Whitechurch was destroyed but Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said it could have been much worse as the fire could have spread to neighbouring properties.
Prompt reporting of the fire and effective work by crews at the scene prevented further damage.
Fifty firefighters in eight engines from across Dorset were involved in the incident which was reported to the brigade at 5.40pm this evening.
The occupier and a neighbour tried to extinguish the fire themselves with a hosepipe before crews arrived.
Firefighters were alerted to Rose Cottages in Lower Street where the thatch around the chimney of one of the properties was alight. Fire engines blocked the small lane which runs from Winterborne Whitechurch towards Winterborne Kingston and the A31.
Crews were sent from Poole, Blandford, Wareham, Hamworthy, Bere Regis, Sturminster Newton, Swanage, and Dorchester. The Red Cross vehicle was also there to provide support for the family affected and their neighbours who had to be evacuated.
Incident commander Sean Blizzard said it is believed sparks from embers in a wood burner within a property set fire to the thatch.
He said the fire was fought using water and putting compressed foam deep into the thatch. Crews then cut away at the thatch.
Mr Blizzard said: “Crews managed to strip the thatch out and prevent damage to neighbouring properties.
“The fire was around the chimney breast of two properties but due to the swift action of crews damage was limited to the thatch and there was no internal damage.
“A section of roof was destroyed but crews have made sure the fire has not spread.
“Crews responded quickly and effectively.
“This could have been a lot worse. If we weren’t called out so quickly it may have spread to other properties.”
Mr Blizzard gave general safety advice following the fire. He said householders should ensure their chimneys are swept regularly and if using a wood burner to use dry wood from a reputable source.
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