FIREFIGHTERS have been tackling a thatch roof fire for nearly 12 hours at a property to the north of Taunton.

The fire service were first called out at shortly after 8pm yesterday (March 24) to a home on Mark Herniman Hill, Crowcombe.

There are reports of the road being closed while firefighters deal with the incident.

Eight fire engines, from Williton, Nether Stowey, Taunton and Bridgwater, were rushed to the scene, as well as an aerial ladder platform, a water carrier, an incident command unit from Wiveliscombe, and a high volume pump and 4x4 from Wellington.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire Service said: "Once the crews got in attendance the officer in charge confirmed the thatch of the property to be well alight.

Fire crews were 'at work trying to create a fire break by stripping the thatch of the roof of the property'.

The spokesman added: "The crews also have four hose reel jets, one thatching lance, one compressed air foam jet, 2 main jets, 4 breathing apparatus, two 13.5 metre ladders and one roof ladder in use.

"Due to the volume of smoke coming from this fire all residents within the area of Crowcombe are being advised to keep all windows and doors shut until the incident has been resolved."

Somerset County Gazette:

At around 10pm, the officer in charge requested the attendance of four more fire engines for personnel and breathing apparatus.

Fire engines from Ilminster, Bridgwater and Minehead were also sent to the incident.

The fire service started to scale down operations at midnight, reducing the active crews to six pumps monitoring the property and dampening down hot spots.

At 5am today (March 25), the incident was scaled down to three pumps still monitoring the property and dampening down hot spots.

The incident was concluded at 8am.

Somerset County Gazette:

The fire service spokesman said: "This incident caused 75 per cent fire damage to the roof of two thatched properties, 50 per cent fire and water damage to the first floor, and 25 per cent fire and water damage to the ground floor.

"However the firefighters salvaged 90 per cent of the properties contents.

"Firefighters are still on scene monitoring the properties and dampening down hot spots."

The cause of this fire is believed to be accidental.