Date: 7th March, 2021
Firefighters successfully saved a detached house in the village of Stert, near Devizes, last night (6 March) after fire broke out in the thatched roof.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the cottage at 6.07pm and, at the height of the incident, there were 14 fire crews in attendance – from Devizes, Calne, Trowbridge, Chippenham (x2), Marlborough, Pewsey, Frome (x2), Gillingham, Westbury, Malmesbury, Corsham and Ludgershall.
Also on scene were the aerial ladder platform from Swindon, a water carrier from Pewsey, an incident command vehicle from Stratton, and support vehicles from Gillingham and Dorchester.
Firefighters stripped the thatch from the roof around the chimney stack and were able to contain the fire to the roof, which was approx. 75% destroyed. Alongside the firefighting operation was salvage, which saw all of the occupants’ possessions brought to safety outside.
The fire was extinguished by midnight, after which the Service maintained a one pump watching brief overnight, initially with a crew from Tisbury and then one from Westlea.
The nearby A342 was closed for some hours due to the number of appliances and vehicles parked on the road; this had reopened by 1am.
Group Manager Wayne Presley, the incident commander, said: “Our firefighters worked incredibly hard, both to contain the fire within the roof and to ensure that the occupants’ possessions were saved. I would also like to thank the local community, who pitched in and helped immensely with the salvage effort. While there is water damage to the main house, we’re hopeful that the rest of the structure is sound, and the owners can get the roof replaced and be able to move back in relatively soon.”
Owners of thatched properties in Dorset and Wiltshire can request a free Safe & Well visit from the fire and rescue service, and there is advice online about making your home as safe as possible – visit www.dwfire.org.uk/thatched-properties for more.