Well, I think I heard the sirens as I’d just arrived in Bude around that time!
It seems that Devon & Somerset Fire Service was called out at 1.24pm to a thatched property fire at a private dwelling on the A3072 in Highhampton. The property’s roof was 50% alight when crews arrived. Local residents were asked to keep their windows closed due to thick smoke. All members of the household made it outside, fortunately uninjured, and the fire had not spread to nearby properties. What a devastating sight, though, which took a huge combined firefighting effort to resolve.
By 3pm, 50 per cent of the fire was alight, but by 4:18pm, the whole roof had gone up in flames. More than 60 fire service personnel were on scene with 10 pumping appliances and many wearing breathing apparatus.
The Service says:
Thatch fires spread rapidly and as they’re extremely difficult to extinguish, many homes are sadly destroyed.
Nearly a quarter of thatched property fires we attended over the last six years saw the whole building damaged. Most thatched roof fires start in the chimney, but they can also be caused by badly installed electricity cables and embers from bonfires.
This link offers useful advice.
On their Facebook page, Bude Fire Crew mentioned it being physically demanding afternoon for the Bude crew. Devon & Somerset Fire Service provided photos on Twitter showing the extent of the fire. What a very sad sight.