Clandon Park left gutted by fire

Blaze is now out but the damage is "devastating", says National Trust's director general
Nicola Sullivan
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Clandon Park near Guildford is now “essentially a shell” after a fire broke out at the 18th-century mansion house yesterday afternoon.

The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to the blaze at the building, which is run by National Trust, just after 4pm.   

Helen Ghosh, the director general of the National Trust, said the fire was now out but the scale of the damage was devastating.

“The house is now essentially a shell, most of the roof, ceiling and floors have collapsed into the bottom of the building", she said.
 
"There is perhaps one room that is relatively untouched but, other than that, the interior is extensively damaged. The external walls are still standing.”

Ghosh said the National Trust has a “very well-rehearsed” plan to rescue items from houses but it was too early to say how much had been saved.
 
"It's a terrible sight. We have saved some significant items but certainly not everything that we wanted to save”, she added.
 
However, it was confirmed that firefighters and National Trust employees had managed to save some paintings and historic furniture.  

Ghosh said: “The most important thing is that no-one was injured and everyone was safely evacuated. Although I’m upset by what has happened, I also feel huge pride at the tremendous work of our staff and volunteers in dealing with this terrible event.”

A spokesman from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was still unknown but it was believed to have started in the basement.  

Earlier today around 30 firefighters and six fire engines were still at the scene but, according to a press statement from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, the operation was being “scaled back". 

An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.


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