A HISTORIC house was destroyed in a major blaze.

More than 20 firefighters tackled the fire in the village of Moreton yesterday afternoon.

Crews made a desperate bid to salvage the belongings from the thatched house as the fire raged.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to the fire at Hurst Green Cottage, Hurst, Moreton just before 3.50pm yesterday afternoon and spent several hours tackling the fierce flames.

The call came from the residents and five fire engines responded, with retained crews travelling from Dorchester, Swanage and Wareham and one full-time crew from Weymouth.

No one was injured in the blaze but it destroyed the thatched roof and interior of the Grade II listed building in the village near Crossways.

A total of 25 firefighters attended, led by Incident Commander Alun Morgan, and worked to salvage the contents, while battling to contain the fire.

Group manager Phil Allen said: “Dorset Fire and Rescue Service always mobilises five fire engines to thatch fires because we appreciate if you hit it hard you can save things.

“Firefighters from Wareham were the first to arrive, when they turned the corner they saw the whole ridge of the roof was well alight.

“The initial incident commander Andy Cobb made the decision to assist the occupants by removing all their belongings. That was successfully done.

“The crews did a really good job, going in there with fire in the roof to get all the property out, while trying to contain the fire as best we could.

Mr Allen said the middle-aged couple who lived in the tenanted building were uninjured, they were assisted by the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service support vehicle, which is part run by the Red Cross and offers cups of tea, spare clothing and contact with insurance companies.

An investigation by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service into the blaze has found that the believed cause was a 'breach in the chimney that allowed hot flue to ignite some combustible material'.

Mr Allen said: “In addition to the Wareham crew, we had two crews from Dorchester, one from Swan-age and one from Weymouth.

“Everybody helped with the salvage. All the contents are now being stored in an outbuilding.

“We were aware it is a heritage building, constructed with cobb walls so we were trying to protect what was left.”

Firefighters had the flames under control by 5.12pm yesterday but remained on the scene throughout the night to ensure everything was safe and dampen down hotspots.

Mr Allen added: “Luckily no one was injured.

“The whole roof was destroyed and inside the house was also 100 per cent destroyed by the fire.

“When the roof came down it fell on the first floor and then that floor fell on the ground floor.

“The occupants had a smoke alarm, which is good, unfortunately the fire was in the roof above so it didn’t go off initially but it is going off now.

“The only other hazard we had was overhead power lines which was just something we had to deal with.”