GALLERY and VIDEO: Explosions heard across wide area as unattended bonfire destroys old barn in Chatteris

Chatteris fire (PHOTO: Kathryn Johnson) Chatteris fire (PHOTO: Kathryn Johnson)

Monday, June 9, 2014
11:09 AM

Fire chiefs revealed that an unattended bonfire caused the blaze which wrecked a derelict barn in Chatteris.

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Fire at Black Horse Lane, Chatteris.Fire at Black Horse Lane, Chatteris.

One crew from Chatteris, two crews from March and a crew from Huntingdon were called to the fire in High Street.

Single storey outbuildings measuring 20m by 10 were involved in the fire, along with agricultural machinery, tyres and gas cylinders.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used three jets and a hose reel to extinguish the fire by 6.39pm and made cylinders safe.

A cordon was established to prevent onlookers getting too close to the fire.

Crews continued to dampen down the site and returned to their stations by 8.05pm.

A fire service spokesman said: “The cause of the fire was accidental, believed to have been started by an unattended bonfire.”

Station Commander Martin Brown, incident commander, said: “We would urge residents and businesses alike to make sure they build bonfires well away from other property, foliage and fences and to ensure they never leave them unattended.”

Police sealed off the area and closed High Street for two hours as fire crews attended.

Residents reported hearing explosions coming from the Black Horse Lane area of town where the fire started. It is thought the explosions were caused by gas cylinders left there.

“Fire on the High Street- lots of smoke affecting down wind,” said Giles Richardson who took one of the photographs in our gallery.

Staff photographer Helen Drake was also quickly on the scene – having seen smoke from the blaze whilst on duty in Ely.

Local resident David Johnson tweeted: “Large barn fire behind our house on High Street in Chatteris rocks the houses as gas cylinders explode.”

The scene from the sky was captured on an exclusive photo by Katie Denham of AAA Microlights.

Police re-opened the road at around 7pm.

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