Blaze destroys home

A FIRE which broke out in a Brixington home on Saturday afternoon could have resulted in injury or death had the property not been evacuated, the fire brigade said.

A FIRE which broke out in a Brixington home on Saturday afternoon could have resulted in injury or death had the property not been evacuated, the fire brigade said.

These dramatic readers' pictures show the extent of the blaze and the thick, black, acrid smoke which could be seen from miles around.

Officer in charge, watch commander Bob Sturtivant said the strength of the fire meant the fire crews tackled the blaze from the front, back and above the property.

He said: "Fifteen minutes after we arrived there was a fairly substantial bang. I believed it to be internal.


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"It is evident it was an explosion of gas in the roof void. Within 30 seconds, the roof started to collapse inwards and that's how the majority of the damage was done.

"If we'd have had any crews in the building there's a possibility they would have been injured or killed."

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The blaze broke out in the utility room of a bungalow in Warneford Gardens shortly before 2.30pm, where it is believed the fire started when a washing machine overheated.

The blaze quickly took hold when the heat of the flames melted a gas pipe in the room and a small gas explosion caused the roof of the home to collapse.

Mr Sturtivant said the fire was already 'well developed' when the crews arrived.

The officer in charge said an attic hatch had been left open from earlier in the day, which allowed the fire to quickly spread up into the roof cavity of the home.

When the fire brigade arrived, the heat of blaze had already blown out the front window.

Soon flames and smoke could be seen licking through the roof tiles.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus trained jets of water on neighbouring homes as they battled to prevent the blaze from spreading.

The fire service said the heat of the fire had cut the electricity supply, cutting off the homeowner's power supply to her cordless telephone and hampering her from calling the emergency services.

Firefighters from Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Topsham, and the hydraulic platform crew from Exeter, spent three hours battling the blaze and four hours damping down the building.

When the council building surveyor arrived they declared the home unsafe and prevented any further action taking place inside.

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