Fire at Heritage estate agents at Nailsea High Street

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By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, November 24, 2011, 11:30

A fire gutted an estate agents in Nailsea High Street late on Wednesday night.

It caused more than £100K of damage and when the fire was at its height flames and smoke could be seen from the top of Tickenham hill.

The three-storey Victorian building which is at the end of a rank of shops is the headquarters of Heritage which has four offices throughout North Somerset.

Sales manager Marcus Lifton said: "The building will need a new roof and everything that escaped the fire is smoke damaged."

The next door Co-op funeral directors escaped with minor damage to its front entrance.

Funeral arranger Chloe Challenor said: "It is mainly water damage from where they put out the fire." 

An off-duty police officer alerted Avon & Somerset Fire & Rescue at approximately 10pm.

Mr Lifton said: "I drove in from Weston and I knew it was bad as when I came in from Tickenham I could see plumes of smoke."

Five fire crews from Nailsea and Bristol worked into the early hours tackling the blaze and damping down.

Mr Lifton and some of his staff were on site until 3am.

The fire ripped through the main roof beam and caused extensive internal damage.

The fire is believed to have started in an electrical box which housed the hub for the company computer system which also acted as back-up for the Clevedon, Portishead and Yatton branches.

Manager Jon Morris said: "Luckily our business doesn't depend on having an office and most of our work is carried out online."

And to prove it was business as usual he couldn't stop to chat as he was off for a viewing!

The company opened its Nailsea office 11 years ago and employs eight staff in its sales team, lettings department, accounts and human resources division.

Crown Glass Shopping Centre manager James Lucas came down to view the fire damage for himself and offered Heritage the use of an empty unit in the precinct.

On Facebook it was local man Paul Balshaw who first raised the alarm.

He said: "The High Street in Nailsea is on fire." 

Nic Tuttiett, who works at Gilly's cafe said: "It is mainly Heritage but loads of smoke coming from all the roofs."

And Simon Affleck-Stewart said: "It's like the 1980s when the hairdressers caught fire."

Royal Oak deputy manager Dan Smith was on duty at the pub across the road.

He said: "It looked quite bad last night, there was lots of commotion with emergency vehicles filling the street and the road was closed all night.

"But there was more smoke than anything and lots of noise when the fire bridge smashed the front window of the shop to gain access to the building.

"Most of our customers went out to see what was going on and stood on our forecourt all evening watching."

Mr Lifton added: "We will be calling in a structural engineer later today and insurance assessors have already made an initial visit.

"We don't think this is a listed building which could delay repairs."

A fire brigade spokesman said: "Last night it was passersby who spotted smoke coming from the first floor and crews from Nailsea, Temple and Bedminster attended the scene."

The 12 fire fighters used jet hoses from appliance and climbed ladders pushed against windows to combat the blaze.

The fire brigade spokesman added: "There was extensive fire damage and the ceilings were partial collapsed.

"We managed to contain the fire and stop it spreading to adjoining businesses.

"Crews re-inspected this morning to ensure fire totally was extinguished."

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  • Profile image for curbyi

    That dog does look real!

    By curbyi at 22:50 on 25/11/11

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  • Profile image for Dogs Palace

    "A big thank you to all the firefighters who did such a good job fighting the fire on Wednesday night. Our condolances to all those at Heritage and hope that business is up and running again soon.
    The fire was horrific. Myself and my husband stood anxiously and helplessly watching from the otherside of the road, until the early hours of the morning while the firemen battled endlessly fighting the flames as smoke streamed from the roofs of both Heritage Estate Agents and The Co-op Funeral Directors.

    Luckily we were there to hand the firemen our keys so they could gain entry with their fire hoses and check the entire premises without smashing windows. They were fantastic and they even apologised for the couple of muddy footprints they left. We were only too please when they had stopped the fire before it reached Dogs Palace and we hurriedly made a round of hot tea for 17 exhausted firemen! Thank you to all the boys, and sorry that one of the fake dog statues in our Dogs Palace gave you such a fright! "

    Kind regards
    Carolyn Price
    http://tinyurl.com/czap9mg
    10275 541438

    By Dogs Palace at 14:12 on 25/11/11

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