A thatched cottage in Calbourne has been severely damaged by a fire that ripped through the property last night (Sunday), with daytime photos revealing the extent of the accidental blaze.

Over 50 firefighters from both sides of the Solent battled through the night to save as much of the cottage as possible. Crews from Newport, Freshwater, Cowes, East Cowes, Ryde and Shanklin were joined by firefighters from St Mary’s, Fareham, Southsea, Hightown, Cosham, Havant, Eastleigh and Portchester at the incident on Elm Lane.

The roof of the property was well alight the time crews arrived on scene shortly after 19:10. Despite the best efforts of firefighters, it has been confirmed that the ground floor of the cottage has been 100% damaged by smoke and water, with the first floor 80% damaged. The entirety of the thatched section of the roof has completely collapsed.

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Island Echo can confirm that it was thanks to the quick actions of nearby neighbours that efforts to tackle the blaze were initiated so quickly. A neighbour across the road was in their upstairs bedroom getting ready for work when they noticed the thatch alight and quickly notified the home’s occupants – who were unaware of the impending disaster unfolding above their heads – before calling the emergency services.

The stop message was received at 05:22 this morning – just over 10 hours after the fire broke out. It’s the first time that Isle of Wight firefighters have had to battle a thatch fire on the Island in over 10 years.

All that remains of the upper floors of the once ornate Merlin’s Cottage are the exterior walls at either end of the property. Charred items of furniture can be seen in what was the bedroom area with damage evident across all other floors and rooms.

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Thatch ripped from the building’s roof can be seen stacked along both sides of the road and in the property’s garden area.

Group Manager Justin Harden has said:

“Thatch fires are notoriously difficult and the crews worked tirelessly throughout the night. My thanks to them for their dedication and for managing to salvage most of the owner’s personal property while the fire was happening.

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“The cause of the fire was accidental. It’s believed to have started when a fire was lit in the hearth.

“Incidents like these show how important it is for chimneys to be swept and inspected.”

Firefighters from Ryde are now the only crew left at the scene and are supervising the removal of equipment and the securing of the property.

Elm Lane has now reopened to traffic.

WATCH: Aftermath of Calbourne thatched cottage fire revealed…

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Born n Bred
Born n Bred
7 months ago

How tragic; both for the cottage and especially the owners. I do hope nobody was hurt in the fire and what a massive shout for our fantastic firefighters.


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