22 June 2015 Historic church in Fleet suffers severe fire
Roof of 19th century church destroyed by fire. Fleet people 'heartbroken' at loss of church.
A fire has destroyed the roof of a 19th Century church in Fleet on 22nd June 2015. The fire broke out in All Saints Church around 5:30pm spreading rapidly throughout the building.
Fire fighters from Fleet, Rushmoor and Hartley Wintney battled the fire for more than three hours. An aerial ladder platform from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service was also used to help dampen the flames.
Officer in charge of the incident, Group Manager Brian Rudman said: "This was a significant fire that has seriously affected a beautiful and historic building. Crews have worked hard in arduous conditions to bring the fire under control. "Unfortunately the roof of the church has been completely destroyed by the fire but the main structure and brick work remains intact and there is every hope that this church can be rebuilt in the future."
Crews, who wore breathing apparatus and used jets and hose reels to fight the flames, remained on scene working hard to bring this incident to a close.
A Church of England Diocese of Guildford spokesperson has said of the incident: "The news of the fire at All Saints Church in Fleet is alarming, and our immediate prayer is that everybody within the vicinity is safe and sound, and for members of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service who are tackling the blaze.
"The sudden loss of a church building can have a far-reaching effect on a community, beyond those who attend regularly, and so our thoughts and prayers are also with the Vicar and everyone in the congregation and town of Fleet."
Hannah Moore, who is a minister in training and has visited the church several times, said people would be "heartbroken". "There are people who have worshipped here for 40 years, people who have got married here, had their children baptised here," she said. "For a lot of people this is their spiritual home. Even if they don't worship here week in week out, they still consider it as their church."
Recalling the incident, Watch Manager Rob Cable of Rushmoor fire station said on Tuesday morning: "When we arrived, it was fully involved in the roof. Our job was to stop it spreading as much as possible. It was a very difficult assignment. "The main challenge for us was the extent of the fire spread. It took hold very quickly. The smoke was also terrible to deal with as the wind was blowing it our way. "There was just nothing we could do to save the inside of the church. It has been totally gutted from top to bottom”.
A fire investigation will take place in due course.
Story collated by Liz Turnbull.
Registered Office: Southwold House, 66 Botley Road, Park Gate, Southampton, United Kingdom
Company number: 07810000