Fire ravishes converted barn

PUBLISHED: 14:59 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 07:01 30 May 2010

FIRE engulfed a converted barn on Tuesday night, leaving a young couple and a nurse homeless and firefighters struggling to find enough water to douse the massive blaze. In total, 30 firefighters, from nine crews, attended the devastating scene as the fir

FIRE engulfed a converted barn on Tuesday night, leaving a young couple and a nurse homeless and firefighters struggling to find enough water to douse the massive blaze.

In total, 30 firefighters, from nine crews, attended the devastating scene as the fire raged through the building, which had been converted into three flats, destroying everything in its wake.

Dunmow fire officer Keith Crow led his crew to Saling Grove on Piccotts Lane, Great Saling, at around 10.30pm and were the fourth team on the scene. He said: "The building was well alight when we arrived it was really a lost cause because the blaze was so fierce."

The crews battled for more than seven hours to try and control the flames but a lack of water pressure meant that they had to use a water tower situated almost half a mile away from the fire and completely drain the village pond. Mr Crow said: "We had to use 20 lengths of hose just to get the water to the site, it was a long way away and it severely hampered all the crews who were tackling the fire.

"We were also very concerned that someone might be still inside."

By 11pm everyone had been accounted for. It is thought that three people were living in the block on the top and bottom floor, with the middle flat vacant. The Red Cross incident unit was called in to take care of the families who were now homeless.

Eyewitness Jo Peake, who lives in Brook House on the opposite side of the village, described how her husband had seen the fire on his way back from Dunmow and alerted the villagers. She said: "He told me that there was a big fire in the village, so we all came out to have a look. It was like a tinderbox, I have never seen a fire like it." To help out, Mrs Peake and five other ladies made tea and refreshments for the firemen until 2am.

The property is owned by Amanda Racliffe, who was not available for comment at the time, but she has offered to help out the people affected by the fire, thought to be a young couple and a Broomfield hospital nurse, by offering them alternative accommodation in another development she is managing.

Did you see the fire? We would like you comments, pictures or videos, e-mail us at nick.thompson@archant.co.uk or write to us at 2 Angel Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1AQ.

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