A FIRE which destroyed the roof of a listed cottage was started accidentally, an investigator has found.
Hunters Lodge in Broadhempston was severely damaged by the fire which started in the roofspace above the bathroom.
A fire investigation has determined it was started accidentally as a result of an 'electrical event'. Damage was so severe it was not possible for the investigator to say if it was a fault which caused the fire.
Eight pumps from Totnes, Newton Abbot, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and Torquay were sent to the Grade II listed building at 2pm on Thursday, September 19.
An incident command unit from Totnes, the aerial ladder platform and water foam carrier from Torquay joined them at the scene due to the danger posed by a thatched roof blaze.
The immediate area around the building, on the edge of the village, was closed and firefighters wore breathing masks to fight the blaze.
Smoke rising from the burning building could be seen from the other side of the village. Speaking from the scene group commander Nick Jones said: "Because it was a thatched roof fire we mobilised a lot of assets. On arrival the first crews found a serious developing fire within the roof of the property and immediately started to attack the blaze. It was quickly established the property was unoccupied and no people were involved."
Within an hour the roof of the building had started to collapse.
Firefighters used two compressed air foam jets, two hose reels and six sets of breathing apparatus.
The distraught owner arrived at about 3.30pm to see his home in flames. By 4pm crews worked to removed thatch from the roof and salvage what they could from the four-bedroom building. They stayed at the scene through the evening removing thatch to a safe area.
Firefighters were still dampening down the cottage on Friday morning.
The roof was completely destroyed as was one third of the first floor. The ground floor was still intact, but the cob walls had absorbed a lot of water during the firefighting operation.
The fire service could not confirm whether or not the building would have to be demolished.