Crews battle house blaze

FIREFIGHTERS were hampered by strong winds as they attempted to battle a house blaze.

Initially, two crews from Halstead were called to the fire in Church Street, Great Maplestead, at around 9.45pm last Thursday.

However, as the flames threatened to engulf the two-storey building, a further three crews, including engines from Sudbury and Sible Hedingham, were called to the scene.

At around 11.30pm, crews were evacuated from the house as it was feared the building’s roof was in danger of collapsing.

The blaze was extinguished shortly before 2am on Friday.

The owner of the property discovered the fire as she returned home and there were no casualties.

Chris Noakes, officer in charge and assistant divisional officer for Essex Fire and Rescue, said: “Crews battled hard with high winds working against us which were fuelling the fire.

“Throughout the incident, a number of hotspots were cropping up, keeping us at the scene into the early hours.

“Crews did manage to salvage some sentimental items from the property on behalf of the resident after she discovered the fire on her return home. No-one was in when the blaze began.”

He added: “At one stage, firefighters had to be withdrawn for their safety because of the unstable structure of the building.”

A joint investigation by the fire service and Essex Police into how the fire started has been launched.