Devastating fire at historic building may have been started by a squirrel

A SQUIRREL or a rodent may have caused the devastating blaze at a Grade II listed building.

Essex Fire and Rescue service have said the cause of the fire at the Sergeants' Mess is undetermined and no further investigations will be carried out.

Resident Beverly Davies, who lives near the 19th fire ravaged building, said police had searched the perimetre to ensure no-one was inside.

No evidence had been found of anyone in the building and the fire may well have been caused by animals chewing through electrical wires causing them to short out.

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8:39am Sun 13 Apr 14

John5 Salary says...

If the cause is determined to be a rodent, then there should be a public enquiry.
Derelict buildings are well-known to attract rodents, and rodents are well-known to chew through power cables - they have to constantly chew things to maintain their teeth. Chewed-through cables are well-known to start fires!
Why wasn't the power turned off, or protected with up-to-date fusing if it had to be left on?
If the cause is determined to be a rodent, then there should be a public enquiry. Derelict buildings are well-known to attract rodents, and rodents are well-known to chew through power cables - they have to constantly chew things to maintain their teeth. Chewed-through cables are well-known to start fires! Why wasn't the power turned off, or protected with up-to-date fusing if it had to be left on? John5 Salary
  • Score: 9

9:06am Sun 13 Apr 14

John5 Salary says...

All other empty buildings should certainly now be reviewed as to whether their power should be on or off and whether they have the latest (RCD?) fuse boxes, plus other advice from experienced electricians.

Apart from venting this thought here, I don't have time to follow-up with the council or English Heritage.
All other empty buildings should certainly now be reviewed as to whether their power should be on or off and whether they have the latest (RCD?) fuse boxes, plus other advice from experienced electricians. Apart from venting this thought here, I don't have time to follow-up with the council or English Heritage. John5 Salary
  • Score: 0

9:33am Sun 13 Apr 14

totallyfootball says...

A squirrel with a box of matches, not much of an investigation as usual?
A squirrel with a box of matches, not much of an investigation as usual? totallyfootball
  • Score: 15

10:20am Sun 13 Apr 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

I have it on good authority that this report is incorrect.
It was actually a Flying Pink Pig that went off the radar and lost its flight path. It crashed into the power box room of the building, which started the fire.
Workers destroyed the evidence, by making bacon sandwiches with the left over remains.
GIVE US ANOTHER ONE WILL YOU? THE POWER HAS NOT BEEN ON IN THAT BUILDING FOR YEARS!
If you are going to feed us B/S can we have it with a little more tastier sauce please not cheek?
I have it on good authority that this report is incorrect. It was actually a Flying Pink Pig that went off the radar and lost its flight path. It crashed into the power box room of the building, which started the fire. Workers destroyed the evidence, by making bacon sandwiches with the left over remains. GIVE US ANOTHER ONE WILL YOU? THE POWER HAS NOT BEEN ON IN THAT BUILDING FOR YEARS! If you are going to feed us B/S can we have it with a little more tastier sauce please not cheek? A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 26

11:54am Sun 13 Apr 14

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Don't think it was a squirrel. I'm sure I smelled a rat!
Don't think it was a squirrel. I'm sure I smelled a rat! Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 11

12:19pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Simon Taylor says...

When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage.

And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays.
When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage. And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays. Simon Taylor
  • Score: 4

12:26pm Sun 13 Apr 14

John5 Salary says...

The most effective long-term solution might be to provide rewarding or enjoyable pastimes during school holidays, particularly directed at those who might cause problems, or who have been abandoned with nothing to do.
The most effective long-term solution might be to provide rewarding or enjoyable pastimes during school holidays, particularly directed at those who might cause problems, or who have been abandoned with nothing to do. John5 Salary
  • Score: -1

12:38pm Sun 13 Apr 14

catflap1 says...

The building is not listed please get your facts correct gazzette
The building is not listed please get your facts correct gazzette catflap1
  • Score: -8

1:23pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Zaffre says...

Simon Taylor wrote:
When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage.

And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays.
The one near us at the old Garrison Gym was in June and not any school holidays.
[quote][p][bold]Simon Taylor[/bold] wrote: When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage. And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays.[/p][/quote]The one near us at the old Garrison Gym was in June and not any school holidays. Zaffre
  • Score: 1

4:08pm Sun 13 Apr 14

colcestrian says...

catflap1 wrote:
The building is not listed please get your facts correct gazzette
Description: Former Sergeants Mess, Le Cateau Barracks


Grade: II
Date Listed: 8 July 1998
English Heritage Building ID: 469545

Actually it is listed Catflap1
[quote][p][bold]catflap1[/bold] wrote: The building is not listed please get your facts correct gazzette[/p][/quote]Description: Former Sergeants Mess, Le Cateau Barracks Grade: II Date Listed: 8 July 1998 English Heritage Building ID: 469545 Actually it is listed Catflap1 colcestrian
  • Score: 11

10:57pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Boris says...

"A SQUIRREL or a rodent ", i.e. a rodent or a rodent. Squirrels are rodents.
"A SQUIRREL or a rodent ", i.e. a rodent or a rodent. Squirrels are rodents. Boris
  • Score: 5

12:20am Mon 14 Apr 14

Simon Taylor says...

Zaffre wrote:
Simon Taylor wrote:
When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage.

And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays.
The one near us at the old Garrison Gym was in June and not any school holidays.
I stand corrected, but I remember thinking this on a previous occasion. There have been so many fires in unoccupied (and occupied) buildings that a full and proper investigation is needed.
[quote][p][bold]Zaffre[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Simon Taylor[/bold] wrote: When we looked round the building at the time of the Roman Circus campaign, we had to use torches because it was so dark (power off) and there was a lot of evidence of human intrusion and damage. And, it may be my imagination, but most of these fires seem to happen during school holidays.[/p][/quote]The one near us at the old Garrison Gym was in June and not any school holidays.[/p][/quote]I stand corrected, but I remember thinking this on a previous occasion. There have been so many fires in unoccupied (and occupied) buildings that a full and proper investigation is needed. Simon Taylor
  • Score: 2

7:40am Mon 14 Apr 14

Fnagster says...

I think I may have found the culprit:-

http://www.worth1000
.com/entries/102526/
firestarter
I think I may have found the culprit:- http://www.worth1000 .com/entries/102526/ firestarter Fnagster
  • Score: -1

7:43am Mon 14 Apr 14

Fnagster says...

Sorry knock off the http:-

www.worth1000
.com/entries/102526/

firestarter
Sorry knock off the http:- www.worth1000 .com/entries/102526/ firestarter Fnagster
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Jo Churchill says...

I think you will find that it is a listed building!
I think you will find that it is a listed building! Jo Churchill
  • Score: 1

4:21pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Boris says...

Fnagster wrote:
Sorry knock off the http:-

www.worth1000
.com/entries/102526/


firestarter
Nice one, Fnagster, but that webmaster seems to find all squirrels terrifying. I find some featherless bipeds a lot more frightening.
[quote][p][bold]Fnagster[/bold] wrote: Sorry knock off the http:- www.worth1000 .com/entries/102526/ firestarter[/p][/quote]Nice one, Fnagster, but that webmaster seems to find all squirrels terrifying. I find some featherless bipeds a lot more frightening. Boris
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Mon 14 Apr 14

SAndrewss says...

Listing reads as follows:

Sergeant's mess. c1861. Red brick with yellow brick and limestone dressings, brick ridge and lateral stacks and slate cross-gable roof Single-depth T-shaped plan. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; 2:3-window range. Projecting left-hand gable, yellow brick plinth, cill and lintel bands, brick eaves cornice and coped gables, ashlar flat heads to 6/6-pane sashes, which are paired on the ground floor of the projecting gable, beneath a tripartite upper window with Caenarvon arch containing simple plate tracery. A single-storey porch in the re-entrant has a raking roof and plane flat-headed doorway. Roof has a square lantern with pyramidal roof and finial. INTERIOR: not inspected. HISTORY: Part of the Le Cateau barracks, which were the first permanent barracks at Colchester camp. The Gothic detail exhibits an unusually ornamental approach to barracks design. Le Cateau is the last surviving example of the new layout of cavalry barracks developed at Aldershot in the 1850s for large scale training camps.
Listing reads as follows: Sergeant's mess. c1861. Red brick with yellow brick and limestone dressings, brick ridge and lateral stacks and slate cross-gable roof Single-depth T-shaped plan. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; 2:3-window range. Projecting left-hand gable, yellow brick plinth, cill and lintel bands, brick eaves cornice and coped gables, ashlar flat heads to 6/6-pane sashes, which are paired on the ground floor of the projecting gable, beneath a tripartite upper window with Caenarvon arch containing simple plate tracery. A single-storey porch in the re-entrant has a raking roof and plane flat-headed doorway. Roof has a square lantern with pyramidal roof and finial. INTERIOR: not inspected. HISTORY: Part of the Le Cateau barracks, which were the first permanent barracks at Colchester camp. The Gothic detail exhibits an unusually ornamental approach to barracks design. Le Cateau is the last surviving example of the new layout of cavalry barracks developed at Aldershot in the 1850s for large scale training camps. SAndrewss
  • Score: 4

5:02pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Jess Jephcott says...

Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country.
Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 3

5:56pm Mon 14 Apr 14

John5 Salary says...

First thing to do is to object to any inappropriate redevelopment plans via the normal council planning process.

Longer term, the government should be lobbied, maybe via the MP, for changes to the law covering instance like this.

The Victorian Society and English Heritage might be able to help with both of the above.

Sadly, I don't have enough time to take all this on.
First thing to do is to object to any inappropriate redevelopment plans via the normal council planning process. Longer term, the government should be lobbied, maybe via the MP, for changes to the law covering instance like this. The Victorian Society and English Heritage might be able to help with both of the above. Sadly, I don't have enough time to take all this on. John5 Salary
  • Score: -1

7:44pm Mon 14 Apr 14

colcestrian says...

Jess Jephcott wrote:
Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country.
I'm pretty sure that the Garrison Gym is actually owned by the council along with the next door Medical Centre, which were given to them by the developers in return for planning permissions elsewhere on the old garrison. Originally the Gym was going to be used as a rehearsal space for the Mercury but in the latest plan it was to be converted for use by the Abbeyfield church who lost out to the Kindergarten who took over the old theatre building
[quote][p][bold]Jess Jephcott[/bold] wrote: Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country.[/p][/quote]I'm pretty sure that the Garrison Gym is actually owned by the council along with the next door Medical Centre, which were given to them by the developers in return for planning permissions elsewhere on the old garrison. Originally the Gym was going to be used as a rehearsal space for the Mercury but in the latest plan it was to be converted for use by the Abbeyfield church who lost out to the Kindergarten who took over the old theatre building colcestrian
  • Score: -1

1:02am Tue 15 Apr 14

Angry of Lexden says...

colcestrian wrote:
Jess Jephcott wrote:
Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country.
I'm pretty sure that the Garrison Gym is actually owned by the council along with the next door Medical Centre, which were given to them by the developers in return for planning permissions elsewhere on the old garrison. Originally the Gym was going to be used as a rehearsal space for the Mercury but in the latest plan it was to be converted for use by the Abbeyfield church who lost out to the Kindergarten who took over the old theatre building
Wow Colchestrian! next you will suggest a certain building in Tiptree of historic interest was systematically destroyed by a certain family, who, surprise surprise got away with it again. And what really is a great "surprise " is that they had bought the site and applied for planning permission as though the building concerned had already been demolished. To be honest, I know the family concerned of old as neighbours, and I did, and would ignore their antics because the police and the enforcement authorities are as scared of them as I am. By the way Tim and Bob isn't that why you guys get paid a bucket of money and "expenses" to enforce the rules? Look forward to your answers.
[quote][p][bold]colcestrian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jess Jephcott[/bold] wrote: Once more, a convenient fire. As with the fire at the Garrison Gymnasium not so long ago, this latest fire at the Sergeants' Mess was either done to order or a coincidental random arson attack. The similarities are interesting. Both owned by the same developer, both constructed in such a way as made them unprofitable to convert for civilain use, both having lain unused and boarded up and no work having been started on them, both with no visible signs of entry, both very extensively damaged, both clearly set alight by persons or people who knew exactly what they were doing, both fully insured so that their re-instatement costs could be shared between the developer and the insurers, thus making the task a profitable one. Neither had any electrics, water or gas connected and the suggestion that a rat nibbling at the wires is exactly what an owner or developer would want to hear to support the insurance claim. The person or person who did this and, perhaps, if the fires were set to order, the owners, could not give a **** about our heritage. If I had my way, when buildings like these become redundant and are bought for a song by a developer, I would make it a condition of the planning permission that these buildings are the first to be converted, before any other work goes ahead. That way they would be protected for future generations to enjoy, as we might reasonably expect should be the case. My worry now is the future of the many other inconvenient heritage buildings on the same site, some of which are unique in this country.[/p][/quote]I'm pretty sure that the Garrison Gym is actually owned by the council along with the next door Medical Centre, which were given to them by the developers in return for planning permissions elsewhere on the old garrison. Originally the Gym was going to be used as a rehearsal space for the Mercury but in the latest plan it was to be converted for use by the Abbeyfield church who lost out to the Kindergarten who took over the old theatre building[/p][/quote]Wow Colchestrian! next you will suggest a certain building in Tiptree of historic interest was systematically destroyed by a certain family, who, surprise surprise got away with it again. And what really is a great "surprise " is that they had bought the site and applied for planning permission as though the building concerned had already been demolished. To be honest, I know the family concerned of old as neighbours, and I did, and would ignore their antics because the police and the enforcement authorities are as scared of them as I am. By the way Tim and Bob isn't that why you guys get paid a bucket of money and "expenses" to enforce the rules? Look forward to your answers. Angry of Lexden
  • Score: 0

7:33am Tue 15 Apr 14

SAndrewss says...

http://www.echo-news
.co.uk/news/4528955.
Shoebury_Garrison_of
ficers__mess_blaze/

Five years ago, in similar circumstances, the Shoebury officers mess was destroyed by fire whilst waiting to be converted.

For whatever reason, the risk to these buildings is clearly much higher than is currently considered. There is a pattern forming.
http://www.echo-news .co.uk/news/4528955. Shoebury_Garrison_of ficers__mess_blaze/ Five years ago, in similar circumstances, the Shoebury officers mess was destroyed by fire whilst waiting to be converted. For whatever reason, the risk to these buildings is clearly much higher than is currently considered. There is a pattern forming. SAndrewss
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Assimilation says...

Plenty of squirrels living in the park, maybe the next building to go up in flames will be the castle. Then the planners could retire on those big fat brown envelopes when they give the go ahead for a nice big housing estate as its got to be the best real estate land in Colchester. I mean, who needs an old castle anyway, plenty in Scotland if you want one.
Plenty of squirrels living in the park, maybe the next building to go up in flames will be the castle. Then the planners could retire on those big fat brown envelopes when they give the go ahead for a nice big housing estate as its got to be the best real estate land in Colchester. I mean, who needs an old castle anyway, plenty in Scotland if you want one. Assimilation
  • Score: 0

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