Thatched cottage blaze could be due to effort to smoke out bees, firefighters say
PUBLISHED: 17:40 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:22 14 May 2019
A fire in a thatched cottage could have started when an effort to smoke out bees inhabiting the chimney went wrong, firefighters believe.
Up to 13 fire engines rushed to the blaze in The Street, Thornage, near Holt, to battle the flames.
The fire was reported just after 2pm today (Tuesday, May 14), and nearby residents were warned to shut their windows and doors and to avoid the area.
A pillar of smoke could be seen from miles around billowing up from the scene of the blaze in the ordinarily quiet village location.
The blaze destroyed part of the thatch before it was extinguished, and firefighters then set about removing most of the rest of the thatch to make sure there was nothing smouldering.
Group manager Simon Mason of Norfolk Fire and Rescue said he was pleased with the response of his team, which also involved an aerial ladder platform and water carrier.
Mr Mason said no-one had been hurt in the incident, and that he was satisfied the fire was accidental.
He said: "There was a bees' nest in the chimney.
"The fire might have occurred because the people who were looking after the let were trying to smoke the bees out.
"We've got no concerns it was anything other than accidental."
All roads through the village were closed while firefighters battled the blaze.
Mr Mason said the building suffered no internal damage.
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By 5pm, eight fire engines were still at the scene mopping up.
Eyewitness Sally Court was driving past as the fire started.
She said: "We stopped to see if we could help and my husband phoned 999. The owners were outside training a hose pipe on the roof, they had already called 999 apparently.
"There was a lot of smoke coming through the thatched roof, but we couldn't see any flames."
Mr Mason said firefighters would not stay overnight at the scene, but would check in later on to make sure there were no flare ups.