Crews were called to Orsett Hall this morning after fire broke out in the kitchens. Initially, two appliances from Orsett were ordered to the scene but on arrival, the officer in charge of the incident made pumps four and extra machines were sent from Grays.
As operations progressed, crews requested another team, which was sent from Corringham, along with Basildon’s aerial ladder platform and Brentwood’s Control Unit, used to direct operations at big incidents. ECFRS’ water officers have been called to the scene to assist in operations due to poor water supply to the site. At 08:39hrs, the officer in charge of the incident made pumps nine because additional crews with breathing apparatus are required to fight the fire.
At 08:46hrs, officer in charge Station Officer Dave Taylor reported that crews wearing breathing apparatus had sectorised operations and that firefighters are attempting to gain access to the roof void of the 21-bedroomed property. At 08:55 an officer at the scene reported: “The fire appears to have started in the kitchen but because of the age of the property there are lots of voids and timber beams and the fire quickly spread. At the moment we are searching the roof voids to find the seat of the fire.
That’s why we need so many crews in breathing apparatus. Crews are working well in difficult conditions. At 09:16hrs Assistant Divisional Officer Steve Reynolds took charge of the incident. He has requested the attendance of an additional aerial ladder platform to assist in fighting the fire at roof level. He reports: “steady progress is being made .
At 9.25hrs, Chief Fire Officer David Johnson, who has gone to the scene to direct operations, pulled crews from the building as flames burst through the roof. We cannot commit firefighters to the building as it has become too dangerous,” he said. “We will continue to get hoses on the fire from outside but I can’t say at this stage whether it will be possible to save the building. CFO Johnson said that Orsett Hall staff had acted promptly when fire broke out, evacuating the building speedily and efficiently.
It appears the spread of the fire happened so quickly because a floor to ceiling void in the kitchen runs the height of the building and that’s why when fire broke out it raged to the roof. The hotel is a popular wedding and conference venue. A marquee is erected on the lawn today in readiness for an afternoon event. At 10:00hrs, Senior Divisional Officer Dave Bill, said: “About 60 firefighters are now involved in firefighting operations. We are in the process of getting two aerial ladder platforms besides the building to fight the fire from above.
All operations are taking place outside the building because it is too dangerous for crews to go inside. Update 10:37hrs: This is a building of three floors and a basement, measuring 30m x 20m. 100 per cent of the roof is well alight, the second and first floor is heavily smoke logged. Two monitors and one aerial ladder platform are in use and a water relay has been set up. At 10:43 hrs, officers reported the collapse of a ceiling and the second floor is now alight.
“A lack of water is hampering efforts and we are doing all we can to get water to the scene. Hose-laying equipment has been brought in and our water officers are assisting in improving supplies to the scene. Update 12:10hrs: The entire building has just collapsed. Orsett Hall has been destroyed, although a new annexed at the side of the main building remains unscathed. Orsett Hall has one wedding booked for this afternoon and three for tomorrow. The hotel management is attempting to set up an information number for members of the public to call if they have upcoming events booked at the hotel.
The fire service cannot relay messages to the hotel on behalf of the public. We are receiving many calls from worried customers but unfortunately cannot assist in this matter. We will publish this number once it becomes available. This incident is ongoing. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Orsett Hall hotel and restaurant is a grade II listed building set in 12 acres of grounds.