Huge blaze ravages historic Bridgnorth building

An historic house that was recently saved from demolition has tonight been ravaged by fire.

Five fire crews were tackling the blaze at Innage Lea House

Five fire crews were tackling the blaze at Innage Lea House

Firefighters were expecting to be at Innage Lea in Bridgnorth throughout the night after the building was badly damaged by a blaze which broke out in the first floor and roof.

Five fire crews from Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock, Shrewsbury and Tweedale tackled the blaze using an aerial ladder platform after the emergency call came at about 5.30pm.

The operations and investigation officers were also at the scene, which was sealed off with part of the town centre and Innage Lane closed to traffic.

The entire roof was damaged by the flames and every room was damaged by either fire or smoke. The cause of the blaze is not yet known, but firefighters said they were not ruling anything out.

Innage Lea House is next to the old William Williams builder’s merchants near Bridgnorth Fire Station

Innage Lea House is next to the old William Williams builder’s merchants near Bridgnorth Fire Station

Adam Matthews, incident commander from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We were met with a property fire which had gone into the roof space. Crews have offensively fought that fire.

“We’re in the process now of fully extinguishing the fire and ensuring all hot spots are damped down.

“Unfortunately it’s going to be a long process. We’ll have crews here throughout the night.

“Initial indications would show the fire started on the first floor and subsequently spread to the roof space.

“The first floor had been heavily damaged. A number of rooms have been damaged by fire and those that haven’t been damaged by fire have been damaged by smoke.

“Unfortunately due to the construction of the building the roof has been damaged in all areas.

“We’ve got a fire investigation officer on the scene. We haven’t ruled anything out.”

The building, close to William Williams builder’s merchants and metres away from Bridgnorth Fire Station, was earmarked as a site to be developed for 55 retirement apartments.

But following a campaign by Bridgnorth Civic Society, the plans were turned down by Shropshire Council.

Firefighters were using an aerial ladder platform to fight the flames

Firefighters were using an aerial ladder platform to fight the flames

Michael Pead, secretary of Bridgnorth Civic Society, described the news as “desperate”.

He added: “It is an awful shame, but sadly it is not surprising. It has been the victim of an awful lot of vandalism of late, with the removal of fence panels and graffiti. It is desperate news and I will be informing fellow members of the society.”

The blaze left residents shocked, with Carl Wellings posting on Facebook: “Massive fire whole house gone up police have blocked the roads now.”

Karl Thompson added: “I saw three fire engines heading towards town on my way to Shrewsbury. Guess this would explain it. Hope everyone involved is okay.”

Jayne Barnes posted: “Beautiful house, very sad.”

Others talked about the vacant building being used by people assembling and drinking in the area.