Candle started blaze in Polish Church in Cheltenham Road, Bristol
TWO people were treated in hospital following a fire at the Polish Church on Cheltenham Road. The fire, which broke out yesterday morning, caused traffic chaos while Cheltenham Road was closed.
A man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s were treated for smoke inhalation. The man is believed to be the priest at the church.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze which was thought to have been started by a candle left burning inside the church.
The building suffered extensive roof damage and Avon Fire & Rescue service said further damage was caused inside.
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Police closed both Cheltenham Road and Arley Hill to traffic for most of yesterday morning while five fire engines attended with a number of ambulances on stand-by.
Anna Duralska, 40, an English teacher and regular at the church, said she rushed to help when she saw smoke billowing from the church roof.
She told the Bristol Post: "I went inside very briefly through the side door and shouted to make sure no one was in there.
"Then I saw the priest and a lady who was with him. From what he said the fire was started by a candle.
"He was extremely distressed watching the scenes unfold. He wanted to go inside to see if everything was all right but there was a lot of smoke. The fire engines got here very quickly and the whole thing was over."
Duncan Wright, a doctor living in flats opposite the church, said he was alerted to the fire by an acrid smell of smoke.
He phoned the fire service and crews arrived in four minutes.