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WATCH: Fire commander gives update on scene at Bell Inn Parkham fire

PUBLISHED: 14:23 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:52 15 February 2017

Incident commander Neil Blackburn speaks to the Gazette at the scene of the Bell Inn fire at Parkham.

Incident commander Neil Blackburn speaks to the Gazette at the scene of the Bell Inn fire at Parkham.

Archant

Video interview as the Gazette speaks to Bell Inn Parkham incident commander Neil Blackburn

Fire fighters expect to be battling a severe thatched roof fire at The Bell Inn, Parkham all day today (Monday).

At its height, 13 fire crews from around North Devon were in attendance, withy more than 80 fire fighters.

Gazette reporter Tony Gussin spoke to incident commander Neil Blackburn at the scene and you can watch the whole interview here.

Mr Blackburn said it was a severe fire and crews expected to be at the pub all day, with shifts rotated throughout the day to relieve tired fire fighters.

Fire fighters battle a major thatched roof blaze at the 14th century Bell Inn at Parkham. Picture: Tony GussinFire fighters battle a major thatched roof blaze at the 14th century Bell Inn at Parkham. Picture: Tony Gussin

The alarm was raised at around 8.18am this morning and eight fire engines were sent to the scene, but more were soon requested.

Crews attended from Bideford, Appledore, Torrington, Hartland, Barnstaple and Holsworthy together with a water bowser from Barnstaple and incident command unit from Ilfracombe.

The roof was well alight when they arrived and four breathing-apparatus wearers set to work trying to make a fire break.

An aerial platform ladder was mobilised from Barnstaple and by 9.12am five further fire engines were in attendance from South Molton, Braunton, Hatherleigh together with two appliances from Bude in Cornwall.

Fire fighters battle a major thatched roof blaze at the 14th century Bell Inn at Parkham. Picture: Tony GussinFire fighters battle a major thatched roof blaze at the 14th century Bell Inn at Parkham. Picture: Tony Gussin

By 9.30am crews confirmed the thatch was fully involved in the fire and an telehandler was requested from Exeter.

By 12noon fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus were hard at work breaking up the thatch and dragging it from the roof, while flames continued to flare up inside the building and break through the roof.

* Keep checking back for more details as we have them.

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