Fire at Exmouth gallery

An Exmouth dockside gallery has on Friday morning been left counting the cost of a fire that severely damaged the premises.

Firefighters from Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exeter spent more than three hours on Thursday night tackling a blaze which left the Swordfish Gallery damaged by heat and smoke.

The fire service said it believes the blaze started as a result of an electrical fault from a kiln in a craft room at the rear of the gallery.

Watch Commander Nigel Snowshall, who was in charge of the incident, said an adjoining closed door leading from the rear of the property to the gallery helped prevent the spread of fire.

He said the fire had been burning for some ‘considerable time’ before the alarm was raised.


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Mr Snowshall said the fire crews were concerned a back draft could occur, because of the lack of oxygen in the premises.

He said: “As soon as you let oxygen in it goes like an explosion.

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“The building was pretty much smoke logged. There was definitely an awful lot of heat built up there.”

Exmouth firefighters were called to the docks shortly before 11pm where they called for back-up after discovering the Swordfish Gallery was heavily smoke logged.

More support was mobilised, with appliances being sent from Middlemoor, Exeter, and Budleigh Salterton together with the incident command unit and a support vehicle from Exmouth.

The crews wore breathing apparatus and used two hose reels to tackle the blaze.

A thermal imaging camera was used to check the spread of the fire, while ventilation fans were set up to clear smoke from the gallery.

A short extension ladder and small tools were also used by crew to extinguish the fire and make the area safe.

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