Bury St Edmunds Cupola House 'unsafe' after Strada fire

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Media captionFirefighters were still damping down two days after the blaze

Structural engineers are to attempt to dismantle part of a 17th Century building declared unsafe after a fire.

There have been fears Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk could collapse after a fire tore through it on Saturday night.

Suffolk County Council said work to bring down a quarter of the fa├žade started earlier.

Fires deep within the building, which houses a Strada restaurant, are expected to burn for another five days.

Street lights are being removed to allow a long-reach crane on to the site.

Two fire engines and a high-reach aerial appliance are at the scene and have worked on tackling hot spots and preventing the fire's spread, the council said.

A cordon was put in place around the site, but the council said 26 businesses that were forced to shut because of the fire had re-opened.

Image caption The damage to the building was described as devastating by councillor Colin Spence

'Community spirit'

Fourteen shops and businesses near the Strada remain closed.

John Wilcock, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's incident commander, said: "This has been a real team effort.

"Despite the very sad reason we're all here, the sense of community spirit has helped people soldier on.

"We're doing everything we can to help the local businesses affected by this fire to open as quickly as possible."

More than 100 people inside the Strada were led to safety before crews arrived on Saturday.

County councillor Colin Spence said the fire had damaged an iconic building and was "devastating for local people, visitors and the town".

Fire crews said it spread quickly after igniting in the cellar of the five-storey building.

About 80 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height.

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