Firefighters illuminated by floodlights worked into the evening yesterday to check over a mansion that caught fire hours earlier.

The fire is believed to have started on the ground floor of the house in The Green, East Ewell, in the early afternoon and four fire engines and a command unit were deployed to try and save the property.

About 25 firefighters tackled the blaze while the British Red Cross Fire Rescue and Support service were on hand to offer assistance and make cups of tea.

Just before 5.30pm a fire officer on the scene said they believed the fire was out but the operation would go into the evening. He said: "It started on the ground floor but the fire burns up, it’s obviously got that potential to spread.

"We are still at that stage when we are taking away, cutting away and checking.

"We are just checking the voids to make sure there is no unseen fire spread but we are not at the point when we are stopping any resources."

Residents in the private road were blocked in by fire engines and vehicles and had no power after the road was dug up to cut electricity.

Extra supplies of dry powder to damp-down the affected area had to be brought in from Reigate.

Graham Penman, from the British Red Cross Fire Rescue and Support Service, said: "We are called by the fire brigade where they consider people affected by the fire need practical help or other assistance.

"In this particular case I think most people affected are being looked after by neighbours."