Monday, 23 July 2018

Sidney Harrison House ablaze

FIREFIGHTERS were called to a blaze at a former social housing site in Shiplake this afternoon

FIREFIGHTERS were called to a blaze at a former social housing site in Shiplake this afternoon.

It’s believed the fire at Sidney Harrison House, off Mill Road, was started deliberately.

When crews arrived there was smoke and flames pouring from the building, which was boarded-up.

The firefighters used hose reels to tackle the flames.

The two-storey property belongs to South Oxfordshire Housing Association but was vacated last year and is due to be redeveloped.

Five fire engines were on the scene and crews took about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

Incident commander Graham Turner said: “The guys turned up to find a well-established fire in one of the wings of the building, which we understand is derelict.

“We quickly assessed the fire and battled it for some time. We managed to stop it spreading to the main building.

“There was no one inside. We also checked the main building thoroughly.

“We don’t know how the fire started but there’s an investigation under way and the fire investigation officer is liasing with police.”

A spokeswoman for Soha said one of company’s directors was on their way to the scene

James Hall, 31, who lives in Mill Road, said he saw up to 10 teenagers running but thought nothing of it at first.

“When I came out of the shop I saw smoke coming out of the roof and when I had a closer look out of the boarded-up windows as well.

“I thought they could have been vandalising it like kids do but I didn't expect them to torch it.”

A 20m cordon was in place as the fire crews tackled the flames and a section of Mill Road was closed.

SOHA is to apply for planning permission to redevelop Sidney Harrison House, where there were 18 tenants in 14 flats and four bungalows.

It proposes to build a three-storey block of 12 “affordable” flats on half the land and develop the other half privately.

The flats would be for the over-55s and five of them would have one bedroom and the other seven would have two.

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