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Serious fire at Wythenshawe Hall

Borough: Manchester

Incident Date: 15 March 2016

MORE than 50 firefighters battled a blaze - which is believed to have been started deliberately - at historic Wythenshawe Hall.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) was called to the timber-framed Tudor style museum and art gallery just after 3.30am on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 when fire broke out in the roof.

On arrival the incident commander immediately called for six fire engines to attend the scene as well as a high-reach aerial appliance – similar to a cherry picker – to allow firefighters to get water into the roof space as quickly and effectively as possible.

The response was then further escalated to 10 fire engines and over 50 firefighters as the team attempted to bring the blaze under control.

Wythenshawe Hall is a 16th-century medieval timber-framed historic house and former stately home set in 250m acres now known as Wythenshawe Park. The building is a half-timbered Tudor house and well known as the home of the Tatton family for almost 400 years. It was built in about 1540. It was donated to local people in 1930 and has been a museum and art gallery in recent years.

Area Manager Warren Pickstone from GMFRS, who was in charge of the incident at its height, explained: “We are doing everything we can to save as much of this building as we can. The fire is in the roof and is difficult to access but we have specialist resources at the scene and we are doing our best. The fire is in the main black and white traditionally clad Tudor building with the historic clock tower, which was also on fire. So far we believe we have lost the roof and the first floor.”

At 8.30am the amount of fire engines in attendance reduced to five.

At around 10am Area Manager Pickstone updated: "We're currently damping down and investigating the cause of this fire with Greater Manchester Police.

"This blaze has caused devastating damage to a historic building, but the quick actions of our crew have saved the majority of the structure.

"The fire was well developed when they arrived and firefighters did a fantastic job to stop it spreading through the timbers and voids in the property.

"We will work closely with Manchester City Council and The Friends of Wythenshawe Hall to help them recover from this terrible fire." 

Firefighters used an aerial appliance and continued to damp down throughout the afternoon before leaving the scene in the evening.

GMFRS' fire investigation team has been assisting Greater Manchester Police (GMP) with its investigation into the cause of the incident and it is thought that the fire was started deliberately. 

GMP is appealing for anyone who may have any information to come forward by ringing 0161 856 4882, 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Updated 1pm 16.3.16

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:21
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