Dangerous chimneys taken down at fire-damaged historic mansion

This Is Local London: The scene at Ewell Court House this morning The scene at Ewell Court House this morning

Dangerous chimneys were taken down this morning at a fire-damaged historic mansion, allowing a library and tea room to reopen.

Surrey County Council today confirmed that early reports of water damage to Ewell Court Library, which suffered a serious fire on Tuesday morning, have proved to be unfounded.

The library and Ewell Court House tearooms are back open as usual today.

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A county council spokeswoman said: "We are delighted the library has got off so lightly but obviously it’s very sad that the building was damaged at all."

As the investigation into the cause of the fire continues, she said: "It’s looking as though it was an electrical fault of some kind."

Firefighters battled for hours to stop the spread of the fire and save Ewell Court House which is owned by the council and includes rooms for hire as well as a children’s nursery.

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An Epsom Council spokesman said one chimney has been taken down completely and the other chimney has been taken down to a "safe height".

He said: "A third chimney has been secured with scaffolding."

Jenny Meineck, from the Friends of Ewell Court Library, welcomed the reopening of the library as "really great news".

Ms Meineck said: "It was all a bit of a shock when we saw Ewell Court House had been in a fire. Our first reaction was what happens with taking it over as a community partnered library."

Although a controversial plan to run the library with volunteers has long been approved, its permanent paid staff have left and volunteers have not yet been able to take over.

Staff from neighbouring libraries have been drafted in to provide cover and, prior to the fire, volunteers were told they could not start work until library renovations were carried out.

Ms Meineck, who is part of the community partnered library steering group, said: "Now the library is open we assume at some stage we will carry on."

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