FIREFIGHTERS from Wiveliscombe have been battling through the early hours of Wednesday (May 24) at the scene of their second major blaze in Taunton in three days.

This time, they were called to the Kings Arms public house, in Staplegrove Road, which suffered extensive damage after it caught alight at about 2.30 am this morning.

A woman believed to be the manager of the refurbished community pub, which is owned by the Stonegate Group, had to be helped out of the blazing building and was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital for checks.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue (DSFR) teams then searched through the former coaching inn, which dates to 1780, to make sure it was empty.

Flames were seen coming from the property and ‘banging’ noises could be heard from inside it.

The fire was thought to have started on the first floor, which has substantial live-in staff accommodation, and spread to the ground floor lounge bar and games area and also into the roof space.

DSFR initially mobilised three fire engines and an aerial ladder platform from Taunton and another pump from Bridgwater.

The first crews to arrive quickly requested a further two fire engines, which were both called from Wellington, as well as a command support vehicle from Wiveliscombe, and other units from Martock.

The firefighters used breathing apparatus and hose reel and safety jets to tackle the fire and thermal imaging cameras to locate any hotspots.

Once the flames had been put out by about 6.30 am the crews started cutting away at affected areas to expose hotspots and prevent reignition.

A DSFR spokesperson said earlier: “The incident has been sectorised for better control of the incident ground and fire investigation has started.

“A relief and welfare strategy is currently implemented for the incident ground.

“A debrief has been carried out with crews on scene and the incident has been scaled back to two fire engines.

“Fire investigation is still being carried out.”

The fire comes just a week before the first anniversary of the reopening of the Kings Arms after a £400,000 refurbishment which also created 15 jobs.

In the early hours of Monday (May 22), firefighters from Wiveliscombe were also involved with crews from 15 other stations in an incident which saw a thatched house destroyed in Kingston Road, Taunton, which was their second major thatched roof blaze this month. Investigations into the cause of Monday's fire were continuing today.