A BUILDING was been almost destroyed following a suspected arson attack near Faringdon.

Firefighters from across Oxfordshire and Wiltshire were called to tackle the blaze at the derelict building in Great Coxwell in the early hours of Thursday morning.

A total of six fire crews, including two from neighbouring Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service were needed to fight the fire as high winds hampered efforts to extinguish the blaze.

By the time crews arrived, the building, which was empty at the time, was already completely engulfed in flames.

Crews used water pumped from a nearby lake to extinguish the fire, while an aerial appliance allowed firefighters to get above the flames to direct water into the roof of the building.

Pictures taken at the scene following the blaze show the gutted building with the roof almost completely destroyed.

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An Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "Upon initial investigation it is believed the fire was started deliberately – the ongoing investigation has been handed over to Thames Valley Police."

Group manager Matt Chapman, who was at the scene, said the incident provided a great example of crews working together.

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He said: “As in this instance, anyone seeing signs of fire should call 999 immediately.

"This particular incident presented various challenges to the fire crews attending the scene, which highlighted the fantastic, cooperative work that regularly takes place between crews from neighbouring services.

"The high winds, which increased the severity of the fire and the location of the nearest water source – the lake –posed challenges to the crews.

"Overcoming these, crews worked together to bring the fire under control and prevent the fire from spreading further than the initial building.”