An investigation is underway into what caused a huge blaze that destroyed a family home in Burnham-On-Sea yesterday (Wednesday) as local residents have spoken of their shock at the incident.
The fierce blaze spread quickly through the property in Burnham Road, leaving a family homeless and a police officer in hospital with the effects of smoke inhalation.
Sixteen firefighters tackled the incident at the height of the blaze and it took over three hours to bring fully under control and avoid it spreading.
Crews were on scene within five minutes of the first call and fire officer Dick Solomon, above, said the crews had “worked very hard in very hot conditions and were able to carry out a good job in saving the property to the other side.”
Late last night, the gas board were also in attendance to isolate a suspected leaking gas supply at the property. Fire crews damped down the property overnight.
Residents expressed their shock at the incident. Nearby resident Steve Tanner told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was a huge shock to come home and find this had happened just across the street – I am so relieved that no-one was hurt, but our thoughts are with the family.”
Another resident, Christine Britton, added: “We were home when the fire started – my nine-year-old son Max looked out and said ‘mummy, there’s a house on fire’. It was a massive shock. After checking that the fire service were on their way, we got all our windows shut. The smoke was so thick you could hardly see across the street.”
A passing Burnham-On-Sea police officer who bravely helped to knock down the property’s front door to confirm that there were no people inside suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Burnham Road was fully closed at the junction with the Marine Drive roundabout all of the afternoon and evening while crews were at the scene.
The public footpath which runs next to the property was also closed as a safety precaution.
Over 30 homes were without power in the area due to the incident – they were reconnected mid-evening by Western Power Distribution.
Six fire appliances from Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Cheddar, Weston worked to extinguish the blaze, helped by a turntable ladder from Avon Fire & Rescue Service.
A command support unit from Cheddar, a welfare pod from Burnham, and an incident support unit from Yeovil also attended.
“A total of 4 main jets, a compressed air foam jet, 2 hose reel jets, an aerial ladder platform monitor and 16 BA wearers were used to extinguish the fire,” a fire spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
“It caused 100% fire damage to the property and 30% by fire to an adjacent property. The cause of the fire has yet to be established and is currently under investigation.”
The fire crews continued to damp down the building overnight to ensure that no hot spots re-ignited.
Police were at the scene throughout the incident to ensure that motorists adhered to the road closure, while ensuring local residents had access to their homes.
The neighbouring property to the building had scorch marks on its walls and melted guttering hanging from its roof area.
Plumes of smoke towered into the sky when the incident first started at 2pm on Wednesday.
A turntable ladder from Avon Fire & Rescue Service was also used to tackle the blaze fom above the property.