Calcot fire: what happened in Reading, when were Red Cottage Drive residents evacuated, are homes destroyed?

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to the fire just before midnight on Thursday evening

Residents from Red Cottage Drive in Calcot, Reading, were evacuated from their homes after a fire broke out late on Thursday (28 July) night, with the blaze destroying a number of properties.

As a result of the fire, a triage centre has been established at the Calcot Infant School for those who have been displaced, with police stating that Red Cottage Road has been completely closed for the time being.

What happened in Calcot?

At 11:47pm on Thursday, the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) were alerted to a report of a fire at a property on Red Cottage Drive in Calcot.

Two RBFRS crews from Newbury Fire Station, and a crew from Theale, Caversham Road, Whitley Wood, Wokingham Road, Mortimer, Bracknell, Crowthorne, and Maidenhead fire stations were dispatched to the scene, alongside the Aerial Ladder Platform from Whitley Wood Fire Station, the Incident Command Unit from Maidenhead Fire Station and two RBFRS Officers.

The blaze began just before midnight on Thursday evening (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Upon arriving at the scene, crews found a fire which was, at the time, affecting two properties. Four firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus worked to take down the fire using two hose reels and two main jets.

Later, at approximately 2am this morning, Thames Valley Police tweeted that “several residential properties have been destroyed by the fire”. It added that residents were being evacuated from the area.

At 9am this morning, RBFRS said that the “incident is now scaling back, but some crews remain on scene dampening down and carrying out reinspections”.

Has anyone been injured?

According to the Thames Valley Police, no serious injuries have been reported yet as a result of the blaze.

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According to Berkshire Live, one person was treated by paramedics from the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).

A spokesperson for SCAS said: “SCAS attended and sent an operational lead, paramedics and hazardous area response team to the scene to support. One person was treated at the scene for minor injuries.”

Centre of South Central Ambulance Services ambulances (Photo by Leon Neal - Pool/Getty Images)

The police urged nearby residents not in the immediate vicinity of the fire to “keep doors and windows closed while emergency services deal with the incident”.

A triage centre has been set up at the nearby Calcot Infant School, situated roughly 10 minutes away from Red Cottage Drive.

Police said: “When residents arrive at the triage centre, people advise what property you are from, whether your vehicle remains on Red Cottage Drive, any medication required and any pets left at home address.”

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What caused the fire?

The cause of the fire is currently unknown, however it comes amid a number of fires that have broken out across the UK as a result of the heatwave that saw some locations reach record breaking temperatures of above 40C.

Earlier this month, major incidents were declared across the country in areas including  London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire. Firefighters also took on more than 22 wildfires and hundreds of other smaller blazes as well.

On 19 July, residents were evacuated from their homes in Wennington after a fire which started in nearby fields spread to a residential area, destroying buildings and gardens.

Homes gutted by fire on July 25, 2022 in Wennington, Greater London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A firefighter at the scene in Wennington told the PA news agency that conditions were like “absolute hell”.

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Additional evacuations took place in Dagenham following a “significant grassfire” which affected a number of buildings.

Earlier this week, a “major incident” was declared in Surrey after a wildfire broke out in Hankley Common.