Firefighters carry out life-saving search of Cupola House basement

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FIREFIGHTERS were called to Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds today for a potential life-saving operation, one month after a fire devastated the historic building.

Two fire engines, a command support vehicle and 10 firefighters were called to the site of the former Strada restaurant at around 9.50am, after Seamans building contractors working at the site discovered a mobile phone.

Pat Dacey, district commander for West Suffolk, said: “We were called because contractors said they had some concerns about a person that was seen in the area, who is known missing, and a mobile phone was discovered near the entrance to the basement.

“There was reason to believe there might be someone in there and the atmosphere is irrespirable because the basement still contains rotting food and the products of combustion and both are known to deplete oxygen levels.

“We can manage oxygen levels in confined spaces like that and have breathing apparatus that will allow us to do a search.”

Two members of the fire crew conducted a search of the basement, closely monitored by their team.

Speaking from the site minutes after they returned, Mr Dacy said: “We have searched it with breathing apparatus and are relatively sure that there’s nobody in there which will allow the contractors to get on with restoring this building, restoring rather than rebuilding which is really positive for Bury.”