Thatched roof fire - Papworth St Agnes - South Cambs

Crews from Cambridge, Papworth, Hutingdon, St Neots, Gamlingay, Sawtry and Kimbolton with a command unit from Huntingdon and a water carrier from Ramsey attended a thatched roof fire at a cottage in Main Road. An engine also attended from Potton in Bedfordshire.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used five hose reels and a jet to extinguish the fire and ladders to access the fire, stripping the thatch from the roof and damping down the area.

The fire caused water damage to the ground floor of the property and fire damage to the upper floor. A fire investigation into the cause of the fire is still underway.

Station Commander Stuart Smith, from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The crews worked really hard not just with firefighting skills but also salvaging a large amount of personal belongings from the property before the fire started to affect the building internally.”

Head of Community Fire Safety GC Kevin Napier: “Nationally the first few months of the year are the most common for Thatch roof fires to occur with the transfer of chimney heat being the most common cause of these fires. Thatched Roofs are designed to shed water and therefore are notoriously difficult to extinguish once the fire has taken hold.

“Our general advice is that good housekeeping and an awareness of potential dangers when maintaining a thatched roof property are essential to ensure that a thatch fire can be prevented wherever possible. This includes regular checks on areas such as electrical fittings, ensuring the property has working smoke alarms fitted correctly and that any work carried out in and around the property is done so in a manner that is considerate of the thatch and its flammability.”

For more information on how to safely install and maintain chimneys and fires in your home and prevent fires of this kind, you can download the FREE online guides available at www.HETAS.co.uk.”