Fire and rain cause traffic chaos in Chatham
Appalling weather and another fire on Chatham Hill caused motoring misery throughout the town today.
The Chatham Hill section of the A2 has been closed off this morning due to another fire. With the recent trial still fresh in the memory, it is thankfully not as devastating as last year's, when three members of the Crook family lost their lives in the arson attack. This home was apparently unoccupied at the time and is believed to be rented by an elderly lady who is somewhat of a hoarder.
Ben Cameron, a local illustrator, lives nearby and took the photos you see above. He said: "There were at least 12 fire fighters in attendance and we took in the couple from the neighbouring house, which also looked like it had caught fire. They're still not allowed back in yet."
Kent Fire and rescue said that six appliances attended the blaze, which began around 6am this morning. This has now been scaled down to two and the fire is completely out. However, Chatham Hill will remain closed for most of today while investigations are carried out. According to @Kent_999s on Twitter the cause of the fire may be arson.
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On top of all this, the fire alarm in the Pentagon also sounded this morning. Confusion reigned as some shoppers were advised to vacate the centre, while others carried on walking in. Service advisers Andrew and Gary on the Eon stand said they took their customers out into the high street, just to be on the safe side. However, Mr Simms in the sweet shop confirmed that it had been a false alarm and shopkeepers had remained in their stores.
Andrew and Gary were also able to testify to the traffic chaos around Chatham, with both of them having to divert on their way into the centre today. Andrew said it took him the best part of an hour to get round the one way system, while Gary said he had to go via Brompton, which took him forty minutes.
And as usual, whenever it rains, Blue Bell Hill was slow, causing tailbacks throughout Walderslade and the M2, with some drivers from Gravesend driving past Junction 3 and leaving the M2 at Hempstead, doubling back on themselves to get to Walderslade.
Also not helping the road situation, two men were arrested in Medway today as part of an ongoing countrywide drugs busting initiative. A 32 year old man from Strood and a 21 year old from Chatham join three others in custody. It's unconfirmed but this may have been the reason for traffic snarl ups in Railway Street. If you know differently please do leave a comment and enlighten us.
On a good note, the traffic lights on Walderslade Road at the junction with Wayfield Road have gone *hurrah* Let's ignore that they're back up near Pattens Lane again, shall we?