Fire of Derelict Historic Building in Devon (UK)

Poltimore House, a historic Grade II* listed manor house near Exeter, has suffered significant damage in a suspected arson attack. The incident occurred on Tuesday 9th Aprile 2024 at approximately 01:05 BST, with fire crews responding to multiple 999 calls reporting a blaze at the derelict property. The Incident commander Neil Hargreaves from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service reported that damage to the property was “quite extensive.

Poltimore House. Image from around 1930 (Wikipedia)

The presence of asbestos within the building added an extra layer of complexity to the firefighters’ task, making the incident a more  challenging for them. The fire service said three fire engines remained at the scene to “dampen down hotspots”.

Construction of the Grade II* property began in the 1550s for the Bampfylde family who lived in it until 1920 when it was put up for sale.

Historically, Poltimore House has served as a college and hospital before  suffering “enormous” damage in a deliberate fire in 1987. Since then, there have been several incidents of theft and vandalism at the property and being left empty from then on and fell into a state of dilapidation

The fire service confirmed that three fire engines remained on site to  damp down hotspots, while an investigation into the cause of the blaze  will take place once it is safe to do so. Devon and Cornwall Police has  treated the incident as a suspected arson and are appealing for anyone  who witnessed or heard anything suspicious around the time of the fire to come forward. Ultimately, two teenagers were charged for the arson.