A fire which destroyed a camper van at a house on High Hill in Keswick and then gutted the roof and neighbouring properties ranks as one of the worst blazes the town has seen in recent years, according to local firefighters.
Keswick retained crew manager Keith Graves, who has served for nearly a quarter of a century and attended Friday afternoon’s incident, said fortunately the home owners, who were initially left with just the clothes they stood up in, had been outside in the rear garden at the time.
The blaze broke out in a camper van parked on the drive of the semi-detached property at around 4pm on Friday afternoon before licking up the walls and spreading to the roof space where it quickly took hold.
It gutted both the bedroom and loft, and then spread to that of the empty neighbouring home, with the occupants of that property away in Merseyside and holiday makers in a neighbouring cottage being out at the time.
The windows of a property on the other side were also damaged with the utility company having to dig up the driveways to isolate power to the properties.
Mr Graves said: “It was good to see that no-one was injured, either in the initial fire or the firefighters attending.
“When we got here it was already starting to collapse. The camper van was close to the wall and flames coming out the side of it.
“The upstairs ceilings have come down and the roof space has gone. We had to fight a camper van fire with a full tank of fuel and two gas canisters inside, and a property fire at the same time and one is hard enough.”
Crews from Patterdale, Aspatria, Ambleside and Cockermouth and Whitehaven attended and the aerial ladder platform from Carlisle, was also deployed.
The owners, aged 80 and 78, have lived at the property for 48 years, and have thanked the many people who have rallied to their support in the wake of the incident.