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Thatch fire in Urchfont

Date: 15th June, 2023

Update – 10.30am on 16 June

A one-crew watching brief was maintained through the night to deal with hotspots. We left the scene at 9am this morning, although a reinspection will be carried out later in the day to ensure that the scene remains safe.

Our thanks to the Urchfont community for their patience and understanding yesterday, and for the support shown to our firefighters. Thanks also to the Rapid Relief Team charity for providing refreshments.

The fire investigation is on-going but we believe it to have started accidentally.


Update – 10pm on 15 June

Good, steady progress has been made throughout the evening – the incident was scaled back to five fire appliances by 7pm, and then to three by 9pm.

The stop message came in just before 10pm, though crews will remain on scene for some time dampening down.


Update – 5pm on 15 June

Firefighters remain at the scene of a thatched property fire in Urchfont, although the number of crews in attendance has been scaled back.

As of 5pm (15 June), crews from Shaftesbury, Salisbury, Blandford, Sherborne, Royal Wootton Bassett, Warminster, Wilton and Mere are dealing with the fire, together with water carriers from Pewsey, Wilton and Royal Bassett, and support appliances from Salisbury and Ferndown – approx. 40 firefighters.

While the affected house has suffered significant damage, a successful salvage operation has saved almost all of the occupants’ possessions.

Work continues to remove thatch from the roof, and farm machinery is being used to support this.

At this time, we expect to maintain a presence on site throughout the night, but with a further scaling back of appliances later this evening.

A fire investigation will be held once in due course, but it is believed to have started accidentally.


Initial report – 1pm on 15 June

Approximately 60 firefighters are currently dealing with a fire in a thatched property in the village of Urchfont.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service received the 999 call at 9.36am this morning. Firefighters have been working in arduous conditions to contain the fire, strip the thatch from the roof, and salvage the occupiers’ belongings.

Fire crews are currently on scene from Devizes, Pewsey, Trowbridge, Ludgershall, Amesbury, Marlborough, Frome, Chippenham (x2), Corsham, Salisbury, Stratton and Christchurch. The aerial ladder platform from Salisbury, water carriers from Wilton, Pewsey and Andover, support appliances from Swindon and Salisbury, and a small 4×4 pumping appliance from Cranborne are also in attendance.

Efforts are being made to maintain access for villagers by parking FRS vehicles off-road where possible. However, if drivers can avoid the centre of Urchfont, it would help.

There is a lot of smoke rising from the property while the roof thatch is removed, so anyone nearby who is worried should keep doors and windows closed as a precaution.

A fire investigation will be held once in due course. No injuries have been reported.

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