60 Firefighters Tackle Whitchurch Fire

14 April 2012, 09:35 | Updated: 15 April 2012, 10:43

Crews from Berkshire and Hampshire dealt with the flames at the thatched house.

They were called just before 4 yesterday afternoon (Friday 13 April) to the fire at Lower Woodcott near Whitchurch in Hampshire.

Neighbours had already spotted the fire and evacuated the people inside.

9 fire engines were sent to deal with the fire.

whitchurch fire

Area Manager Andy Bowers said:

"The first crews on arrival did a sterling job in creating a physical fire break in the thatch to stop the spread of fire to the neighbouring property. 

"This was achieved with a combination of traditional firefighting methods and using the Compressed Air Foam System on the thatch which quickly killed the fire within the thatch, enabling crews to probe the thatch for any further hotspots and stop the fire from spreading further by targeting the foam at the affected areas. 

"Firefighters cut away the thatch that was already alight. Once conditions were safe enough to allow entry into the property crews salvaged the family’s possessions and neighbours assisted by transporting the items for safe storage in a nearby barn."

whitchurch fire

He continued: “Whilst statistically a home with a thatched roof has no greater tendency to catch fire than a home with a conventional roof, the difference is that, if a thatched roof does ignite, the fire can be very difficult to control and the consequences much more destructive. 

"Incidents involving thatch can be extremely prolonged and also have a great demand on our resources and personnel.

"However, in this case it is apparent that the firefighters use of the Compressed Air Foam System and traditional firefighting methods in creating a fire break meant the length of time we were in attendance was reduced dramatically."

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.