Locals save 12th Century abbey from fire using buckets of water

·2 min read
Residents and restaurant staff rushed to extinguish the flames at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire. (SWNS)
Residents and restaurant staff rushed to extinguish the flames at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire. (SWNS)

Locals have saved a 12th Century abbey from a blaze using buckets of water.

Residents rushed to Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire on Friday evening after realising it was being threatened by a fire.

The locals, including staff from The Bird Cage restaurant, The Old Bell Hotel and Co-op Food store, managed to bring the flames under control using buckets of water and extinguishers.

The blaze is believed to have started when someone set fire to waste and refuse outside the abbey.

Firefighters were called shortly after 9pm but after a 10-mile dash from Chippenham the fire crew discovered the blaze had been subdued.

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Locals brought the flames under control using buckets of water and extinguishers. (SWNS)
Locals brought the flames under control using buckets of water and extinguishers. (SWNS)

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters used one hose reel, drags and a thermal imaging camera to extinguish the flames fully.

Local Ben Thornbury, who helped extinguish the blaze, praised everyone who had come together to tackle the blaze.

He told Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: "Without all of them it could have been a very different situation and much worse,"

Another resident added on social media: “It could have been a very different ending without everyone being so incredible. Well done everyone!”

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The fire is believed to have started when someone set fire to waste and refuse outside the abbey. (SWNS)
The fire is believed to have started when someone set fire to waste and refuse outside the abbey. (SWNS)

The Grade I listed abbey is built on the site of a former Saxon monastery dating back to AD700.

Athelstan, the first king of all England, was buried in Malmesbury Abbey when he died in 939.

By the 12th-century it was an important Benedictine Abbey and a noted seat of learning.

At that time it possessed the second largest library in Europe and one of its community was the 12th-century historian William of Malmesbury.

It was given a Grade I listing in 1949, having survived previous fires and the English Civil War.

Yahoo News UK has contacted Wiltshire Police for comment.

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