Thatched cottage fire in Polegate believed to be accidental

This is the scene today after the blaze last night
This is the scene today after the blaze last night

A fire which ripped through a thatched cottage in Polegate on Wednesday night (February 11) is believed to have been accidental, East Sussex Fire and Rescue has said.

A spokesman for the fire service said it is thought the blaze was caused by a spark igniting a thatched roof.

The site has been handed over to Building Control.

Crews were called to the Old Thatched Cottage in Hailsham Road at 6.21pm.

They remained at the scene until 11am today (Thursday February 12).

Travelling zoo, Animal Magic, occupies the site.

The fire brigade said the 300 animals including a small pony, chickens, geese, ducks and an owl were all safe.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Although the home suffered very serious damage, no-one was hurt in the incident.

“Crews worked hard to stop the fire spreading to a bottle gas distribution site and an area occupied by around 300 animals, including a small pony, chickens, geese, ducks and an owl. All are safe and being looked after.”

The A22 southbound was closed by the Police and Highways agency for several hours during the incident.

The Red Cross Fire Victim Support Unit attended to offer assistance to the occupiers and looking after crew welfare.

On its website, Animal Magic said it lost a diary and computers in the blaze and if you have made a booking for 2015 to contact them.

It said all animals are safe and it will endeavour to honour all bookings.