Update: Front of historic Bury St Edmunds secured following devastating fire
15:21 19 June 2012
What remains of the facade of 17th-Century Cupola House, home to Strada restaurant, in Bury St Edmunds now be secured with scaffolding.
Structural engineers last night successfully removed a small part of the façade of the property which caught fire on Saturday night.
Skilled demolition professionals worked into the night using a 40 tonne long-reach crane to delicately pick apart the unstable areas of the building’s front wall as hundreds of residents gathered to watch.
Less of the façade needed to be removed than originally thought.
At 4pm today, load-bearing scaffolding will start being put up and is expected to take three to four days to complete.
The Grade I-Listed building has been severely damaged by fire.
Meanwhile, demolition contractors and conservation officers will start work clearing rumble and charred timber and salvaging parts of the building’s history.
There are currently two fire engines and a high-reach aerial appliance at the scene. Firefighters are expected to be on scene for up to five days.
Mark Hardingham, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief fire officer, said: “Last night’s multi-agency operation was a success and I’d like to pay tribute to firefighters and contractors who worked tirelessly to save what is left of Cupola House.
“There is still a very long way to go in terms of fighting the fires that still remain under the rumble and recovering the front of the building - but the work we’re doing together is getting us closer to that goal every minute.”
“I’d particularly like express our gratitude to the businesses and residents who have shown such patience in these difficult circumstances.”
Since their original closure, 27 local businesses have re-opened.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council is working to open the town’s Wednesday market as usual.
On Saturday night, the blaze was fought by more than 80 firefighters and there were 16 appliances.
The 120 people inside the restaurant at the time the fire was detected had all been evacuated safely by Strada staff by the time firefighters arrived.
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.