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Arson theory after midnight blaze destroys pallets

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 27, 2013

Flames from a blaze at a pallets company light up the midnight sky above Tavistock Picture: Graham A Leech

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A fire which lit up the night sky over rural West Devon may have been started deliberately, according to investigators.

Fire crews were called out to A&M Pallets on Hayedown Industrial Estate, four miles outside Tavistock, just before midnight on Thursday.

Nick Jones, group commander for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, said they found a yard containing 1,000 dry wooden pallets was well alight. "It was a very serious fire," he said.

"The first two crews on the scene were from the retained station at Tavistock and they immediately increased the number of pumps."

Appliances were sent from Yelverton, Ivybridge, Bere Alston, Plymouth and over the Cornish border from Launceston.

Mr Jones said the pallets were well alight and the blaze was in danger of spreading to a nearby building.

He said the crews' work was hampered by a sparsity of water to tackle the raging fire.

"It is an issue we face in rural areas," said Mr Jones.

"The first crews on the scene used the water they carried, but we had to set up a shuttle system and the nearest hydrant was a few miles away. We also called in a water bowser.

"It was a labour intensive operation and at one point we had about 35 firefighters working on the incident."

A spokesman for the service said an investigation was under way but it was initially believed the fire was started deliberately.

Crews remained on the scene until yesterday morning to damp down the site. The pallets and 500 litres of fuel oil were destroyed and Mr Jones said the building was left severely damaged.

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