A THATCHED cottage in Hemingford Abbots was completely destroyed by fire yesterday (Thursday 31), after high winds blew down power lines. The family home in the High Street was devastated after the incident, which happened shortly before 10am. It is uncle

The scene of the blaze.

Pics courtesy of Cambs Fire & Rescue

A THATCHED cottage in Hemingford Abbots was completely destroyed by fire yesterday (Thursday 31), after high winds blew down power lines.

The family home in the High Street was devastated after the incident, which happened shortly before 10am.

It is unclear if anybody was inside Merrymead Cottage when winds of up to 70mph blew a tree onto the lines, which in turn set the thatched roof alight.

Firefighters fought to prevent the fire spreading to a neighbouring property by damping down the roof. However, it was too late for the family's home and only a small annexe of the rear of the building survived the inferno.

The occupants, Ben and Kirsty Rimmington, have lived in the house for four years and are believed to have children.

Firefighters did manage to rescue some personal property belonging to the family and Andy Tucker, station manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Thatch roofs are highly combustible and once a fire starts, it is extremely difficult to extinguish.

"On top of this, the high winds caused the fire to spread very quickly. We managed to stop the fire spreading to the neighbouring thatched property but we were unable to prevent the fire destroying the thatched house where the fire started."

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: "EDF Energy Networks engineers worked through the afternoon and into the evening yesterday (Thursday) to carry out repairs to a section of the overhead network in Hemingford Abbots.

"Linesmen worked as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power to customers affected by the incident in the High Street.

"Power was isolated to 28 customers shortly after 11am to allow engineers to safely work on our equipment. A further 30 customers will have experienced an interruption to supplies later in the day as repairs continued. The final supplies were restored at 10pm.

"We do understand how much inconvenience any interruption to power can cause, especially at this time of year, and apologise to all those who have been affected.