Sunday, 20 August 2017

Fire rips through council offices

A HUGE fire ripped through the offices of South Oxfordshire District Council in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday).

A HUGE fire ripped through the offices of South Oxfordshire District Council in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday).

Thirteen crews from Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire were called to tackle the blaze on the first floor of the two- storey building in Crowmarsh Gifford at 3.20am.

Only minutes before, firefirefighters were called to another fire at a funeral parlour in nearby Benson Lane and a third at a thatched property at Quakers Corner, Rokemarsh, near Benson.

David Etheridge, Oxfordshire’s chief fire officer, said: “We are in the process of dealing with three major fires in South Oxfordshire, which occurred within a very short time-frame.

“These are ongoing incidents and our firefighters are working hard to get the fires under control with assistance from neighbouring fire and rescue services at the district council fire.



“At this stage I am unable to state what the causes of the fires were. This matter is currently in the hands of Thames Valley Police, with whom we are working in conjunction.”

The district council confirmed on Twitter that most of its services would be disrupted by the “major” fire.

A spokesman said: “We are putting our business continuity plan into place to make sure the effect on the most important services is kept to a minimum. We will set up an emergency phone line for people who have urgent enquiries.”

The council offices house about 400 staff, including those in the housing, planning, building control and leisure departments.

Vale of District Council staff moved into the building from Abingdon as part of a cost-saving measures by the two councils.

Roads in the surrounding area were affected by the drama.

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