There has been a major fire at All Saints Church today, Monday 22nd June.
The fire started late in the afternoon and a ballet class in the Fleet Parish Community Centre was evacuated at 5:40pm. Hampshire Fire and Rescue have said it is not thought anybody has been hurt.
The fire spread though the wooden roof of the main aisle and chancel which is reported to be completely lost. The stained glass and Victorian glass throughout the church has suffered substantial damage. The roofs over the north and south aisles were still burning, with smoke and flames emerging at 8pm.
25 fire fighters, with five pumps including a hydraulic lift from Berkshire, were at the scene. The area was cordoned off and smoke is hanging over the town.
Vicar the Revd Mark Hayton said in a message: “The destruction of a church is a cause of deep sorrow, not just for churchgoers but for the whole community. We are in profound shock but thankful that no-one was hurt in the fire. ”
The Bishop of Dorking, the Right Revd Ian Brackley, visited the church as the fire was still raging to offer support, describing the building as having been ‘gutted’. “It really is terrible,” he said. “I came to celebrate the 150th anniversary only last year.”
While All Saints was a simple country Church it was also the first of the few Churches designed by brilliant architect and designer William Burges and therefore not only a loss to Fleet, but also to our National Heritage.
Please pray for our community in Fleet.
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Eagle Radio: Major fire rips through church in Fleet