Timber frame flats burn

Published:  14 September, 2010

BASINGSTOKE: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has successfully tackled a major incident involving a large timber framed building under construction, which started in the Brighton Hill area of Basingstoke on Friday, 10 September.

Firefighters at the scene swiftly expressed major concerns over the potential for the fire to spread due to the prevailing wind conditions and resources were mobilised from across Hampshire, Royal Berkshire, and Surrey fire and rescue services to tackle the incident.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service chief officer, John Bonney, who is also president of the Chief Fire Officers Association, attended the scene of the challenging blaze and warned about the danger of timber framed buildings.

Mr. Bonney said: "This incident has once again highlighted just how potentially dangerous the threat of fire can be in timber framed buildings while they are under construction. When timber framed buildings catch fire the actual structure burns.  It often leads to total collapse and that puts the safety of our firefighters at risk.

"The potential for fire spread was clearly of major concern at this incident, and shows that the Chief Fire Officers' Association is right to be increasingly worried about the number and severity of fires in timber framed buildings under construction.”

The building under construction was 100% severely damaged by fire. Two tower cranes and assorted builders’ vehicles were also damaged by fire, and approximately 50 surrounding dwellings and Brighton Hill Community College were affected by smoke and flame brands.

It is expected that damping down will continue for some considerable time and a joint investigation is now underway with fire investigation officers and the police to establish the cause of the blaze.

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