Fire at Lympstone causes explosions

Fire has ripped through a farm building in Lympstone on Tuesday afternoon (July 26), causing several explosions.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at a barn at Nutwell Court at around 12.30pm, and arrived to find that propane, argon and oxygen cylinders were exploding.

The potential danger of the cylinders, stored in a nearby workshop, three tons of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and fumes from 10 tonnes of rubber chips and the close proximity of a gas pipeline also prompted Royal Marines at CTCRM to go on alert.

Eight fire appliances and two water bowsers were scrambled from Exmouth, Exeter, Torquay, Ottery St Mary, Topsham, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth and Honiton.

Because of the risk to crews from explosions and falling girders, water monitors were used to douse the flames from a distance, and a 600m exclusion zone was placed on the fire- later reduced to 100m.

Crews were able to control the spread of the fire, and make sure that neighbouring buildings were not affected.

Because of the remoteness of the building, water had to be transported around 600m to the blaze from hydrants by the A376.

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Although the fire is now under control, because of the continued risk to crews from falling debris it will be allowed to burn out by itself.

Nobody was injured in the incident, and the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Incident commander, group manager John Gilhooly said: “This was a very hazardous situation with all the substances involved.

“Fire crews worked extremely hard to get the water down to the fire, and once we had done that we were able to stop any major spread.

“We expect we’re going to be here for a couple of days while the fire burns out.”

Jeff Trail, of CTCRM, said: “Had the fire spread, it could have ignited the major gas supply pipe line, which is situated under the ground within the field.”