Firefighters faced unique challenges at Thorney blaze

Fire near A47 at Thorney EMN-160802-204220009

Fire near A47 at Thorney EMN-160802-204220009

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Firefighters have told of the difficult and unique set of circumstances which led to a house, garage and number of classic cars being destroyed in a large blaze.

Crews were called to the fire on The Causeway, Thorney at 6.06pm last night. Around 60 firefighters tackled the fire involving a large garage and an adjoining house.

But strong winds, a fuel leak, and a hidden hydrant made tackling the flames difficult.

A Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Firefighting is not a straight forward task. There are many factors to consider when planning tactics for dealing with it and each fire will be different depending on location, weather, water supplies, what is burning, whether people are trapped, and the risk to firefighters etc.

“The first crews attending immediately requested further fire engines and straight away attempted to tackle the fire using a powerful water supply. They also tried to protect the house.

“There was an unexpected significant fuel leak in the garage, which ignited and created an intense, rapidly developing fire situation within four minutes of the crew attending. The fuel leak and strong winds caused the fire to rapidly spread and within a few minutes of crews arriving the house had caught fire too.

“Another complication was the fact cylinders were in the garage and these can explode in a fire situation, posing a significant risk to firefighters and members of the public. For safety crews had to retreat.

“Initial water supplies ran out before back up fire engines arrived and the crew had to source another water supply. The hydrant was hidden in the overgrown verge. Once located, the hydrant was used as a water source and when additional fire engines arrived, a water shuttle was put in place from another hydrant further away.

“The initial call came in at 6.06pm and the first crews arrived at 6.17 and 6.18pm. Followed by further crews at 6.30pm, 6.31pm, 6.44pm, 6.47pm, 6.51pm and 6.52pm.”

One man was treated by an ambulance crew at the scene for smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital.

An investigation has revealed the fire was started accidentally.

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