Family forced from Bishops Cannings home by huge fire

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More than 80 per cent of The Old Manor in Bishops Cannings has been destroyed due to a fire ravaging the thatched house over the night.

Crews from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service rushed to Chandlers Lane just after 9.20pm, with the roof of the house well alight.

Nobody was injured from the blaze and fire crews did their best to salvage the family’s possessions – many of which are now being kept in the farm’s storage areas.

Kathy Collis, the firefighter leading the investigation, said: “The Sheppard family are shaken but are pretty pragmatic about it all. We believe the cause of the fire was accidental but our investigation is still ongoing.

“Some of the workers here have helped us to get some of their possessions, a great deal of which have been salvaged, to safety.

“The fire is out bar a few hot spots from the thatched roof. It has been all hands to the deck, having a good 11 crews here over the last 12 hours or so.

“Unfortunately the interior of the building is badly damaged and the roof is completely destroyed. We have had to use a great deal of water.

“We managed to contain it pretty well to just the old manor house. The family will be staying with nearby relatives for the time being.”

The village was closed to through traffic this morning but has now been reopened, bar Chandler’s Lane, which will remain closed until 2pm at the earliest.

At the height of the blaze, there were 11 fire engines at the scene from Devizes (two), Calne, Melksham, Marlborough, Pewsey, Trowbridge (two), Chippenham (two) and Stratton.

Also there were the incident command vehicle from Devizes, an operational support unit from Swindon, and the emergency response volunteers from the British Red Cross, based at Swindon fire station.

A building control officer from Wiltshire Council advised on the safety of the structure.

As well as fighting the fire, crews were able to salvage many of the occupiers’ possessions, including a grandfather clock.

The incident was scaled back at around 2am to a three pump relief, with crews attending from Bradford on Avon, Warminster and Royal Wootton Bassett, and has since been scaled back even further to damping down.

Corsham firefighters are currently at the scene tending to hot spots which are still smouldering.

Stagecoach was diverting its 49 service between Swindon and Trowbridge, which normally runs through the village, along the A361 while the road closure was in place.