More than 70 fire crew and 10 fire engines yesterday attended a blaze at a millionaire’s mansion off Shirley Church Road and Spout Hill in the glitzy Addington Hills. The Daily Mirror is this morning reporting that the house is owned by Oritse Williams, the one-time member of X Factor boy band JLS.
The house was reportedly unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was hurt, but its cause is being treated as suspicious and is now subject to a police investigation.
The house, which backs on to the Addington Palace golf course, is probably deserving of a blue plaque in hour of its former owner. For 33 years it was the home of TV comedy star Ronnie Corbett and his wife, Anne.
Corbett died in 2016. Three years earlier he had sold his much-loved home, with its six bedrooms, large garden, minstrel’s gallery, swimming pool and ready access to the golf club, so that his children would avoid a massive tax liability.
Yesterday’s photographs from the London Fire Brigade show that the fire gutted part of the first and second floor of the detached three-storey property, and the roof destroyed.
Williams spent most of last month on trial in Wolverhampton charged with rape. Last week a jury found him and another man not guilty.
When Williams bought the house six years ago, he is thought to have paid £3million for it. Earlier this year, when facing the prospect of the rape trial, he put the house on the market for £1.75million, though no sale had gone through.
The fire was reported to the LFB at 4.27pm yesterday. Fire crews from Addington, Croydon and Biggin Hill fire stations were dispatched to help control the flames. LFB are reporting that the second floor was 80 per cent damaged by the blaze.
A police spokesman said: “Police were called at 16.39 on Tuesday, 4 June following reports of a fire at a residential address in Spout Hill, Croydon. Officers attended with LFB. There were no reported injuries.
“There have been no arrests. At this stage, the incident is being treated as suspicious. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Enquiries continue.”
Firefighters stayed until around 7pm when they were able to bring the incident under control.
A LFB spokesman said: “Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters were called to a fire at a derelict property in Croydon. The Brigade was called at 4.27pm and the fire was under control by 6.58pm. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”
With Jonathan Gill, Williams was one of two members of JLS who came from Croydon. Since the band broke up, Gill has moved into television presenting and bought a turkey farm in Biggin Hill.
JLS were runners-up to Alexandra Burke on X Factor in 2008 and went on to sell more than 10 million records. Williams set up a music firm and sang solo under stage name OWS after the band split in 2013.
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