News release text
A resident has praised firefighters for their actions in dealing with a fire that threatened to destroy a large traditional Kentish oast property in West Malling yesterday (21 July).Crews tackling West Malling oast house
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called at 11.04am to a fire in a converted oast house complex, consisting of five homes in Lavenders Road, and control operators quickly mobilised two fire engines, a height vehicle and water unit to attend.
Due to the information they received from the caller about the extent to which the fire was spreading, quick thinking staff sent two extra appliances and began to move additional specialist equipment from around the county in case additional support was needed.
On arrival, fire crews from Larkfield and Borough Green were presented with a large fire in house in the middle roundel of the oast building, which had spread from a downstairs kitchen, up to the first floor and the central apex of the roof that connected the six roundels of the property.
Two crews in breathing apparatus tackled the fire at the front and rear of the house using hose reels to successfully suppress the blaze and stop it spreading to neighbouring properties. They then used specialist cold-cutting equipment to cut thought to roof voids to prevent fire taking hold, while further firefightersWest Malling resident praises crews after oast house blaze doused the outside of the roof using a height vehicle for access.
At its height, six fire engines, a height vehicle and around 40 firefighters attended the scene.
Crew Manager Chris Phipps said: “I am really proud of the fire-fighting efforts of our crews and the efficiency of KFRS fire control staff. The initial speed and weight of attack prevented what would otherwise have been a lot larger fire, which would have required many additional resources and could have destroyed the entire site. While the house and one of the roundels was severely damaged, the structure of the building remained intact.”
Fire scene, Lavenders Lane, West Malling“They worked extremely well in arduous, hot conditions, using their expertise and the latest fire fighting technology to protect neighbouring properties.”
As a result of their efforts, the other homes in the oast were unaffected by the fire and these residents were able to re-enter their homes yesterday evening, while the occupant of the affected property, Mrs Grimes, went to stay with relatives.
Mrs Grimes, said: “I am extremely grateful to Kent Fire and Rescue Service and I can’t thank the firefighters enough for the brilliant work they did in stopping the fire spreading to my neighbours’ homes. They were very civil, keeping us fully informed throughout the entire incident and I very much appreciate how caring they were about our welfare.”
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, caused by pan that had been left on a stove.
Crew Manager Phipps said: “This unfortunate incident highlights the need to be particularly vigilant and to ensure all pans are removed to safety and cookers are switched off after use.”