FIRE investigators have confirmed the cause of a blaze which ripped through a 400-hundred-year-old West Somerset cottage today was accidental.

Smoke was seen pouring from the property in Quay Street, Minehead, close to the town’s historic harbour, shortly before 4.30 am.

Both floors of the cottage and the roof space were severely damaged by fire and smoke.

Neighbour, Martyn Pratt, said the damaged cottage was ‘completely trashed’ with debris everywhere and roof looking likely to collapse.

Minehead Quay Street fire firefighters
An aerial ladder was used to check for fire hotspots. (George Ody)

Eye witness Sue Lloyd was woken up by the smell of smoke and the noise outside and saw firefighters ‘swarming everywhere trying to get it under control’.

The 17th century cottage was empty at the time but emergency services were able to contact the owner to let him know what had happened.

Minehead and Porlock firefighters were quickly on the scene and back-up was called in from other stations as the severity of the blaze became apparent.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service had eight appliances in attendance in total, and later an aerial ladder platform was also sent from Taunton.

Minehead Quay Street fire firefighters harbour
The fire was close to Minehead's historic harbour. (George Ody)

Several sets of breathing apparatus were used by the fire crews tackling the flames as well as water jets.

Quay Street was cordoned off by police to prevent traffic trying to use it while the fire crews dealt with the incident with people only allowed to walk past.

Electricity supplies were cut off for most of the day to a number of properties in Quay Street and Minehead Lifeboat Station and the Old Ship Aground public house next to the harbour were also without power.