VIDEO AND PICTURE GALLERY: Two properties in Ryde have been severely damaged after a blaze ripped through the rooftops of a row of family homes this afternoon (Tuesday), leaving at least two families without anywhere to live and many more unable to return to their properties for the time being.
As reported by Island Echo, firefighters from Ryde, Newport and East Cowes have been tackling the blaze since 14:30 this afternoon after smoke was seen to be billowing from the roof of a three-storey building at the corner of Monkton Street and Simeon Street.
Tonight, firefighters remain on the scene more than 6 hours after first responding to the incident, where they are damping down and turning over the remains of two properties, which have suffered severe damage to the roofs and second floors.
The Foam Salvage Tender from East Cowes has brought in supplies of salvage sheets to allow crews to cover remaining parts of 37a Simeon Street and 1 Monkton Street. Two aerial appliances from Ryde and Newport are also at the scene alongside two pumping appliances from Newport and one from Ryde. Other crews have returned to station.
The recently-refurbished Incident Command Unit is being used to manage the scene with an aerial camera providing an overall view of the fire ground. Roads in the surrounding area remain closed tonight.
One home owner has told Island Echo that she heard an angle grinder being used shortly before the fire was discovered, speculating that the wooden frame of the roof space may have caught alight. She said the fire spread very quickly.
Leighton Bryant of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has this evening told Island Echo that a salvage operation is underway to remove personal belongings from the homes effected, with some residents being allowed to bring their belongings out themselves from certain areas of some of the houses.
A variety of animals have been successfully rescued, including birds and cats. Thankfully, no one has been injured.
Accommodation has been arranged in Sandown for a family of 6 who have been left homeless by today’s fire. Accommodation is also understood to have been arranged for a second family. The British Red Cross are on hand to provide assistance.
Two appliances and two aerial appliances remain on the scene, more than 7 hours since the fire ignited, however one aerial appliance is set to return to Ryde Fire Station shortly. The Incident Command Unit has returned to Newport Fire Station.
Monkton Street remains closed between Bellevue Road and The Strand.
Barriers have now been put in place surrounding the former Post Office, with debris still present on the ground.