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Explosion reported as fire crews battle Plymouth garage inferno

By HeraldNews  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

  • Huge fire in Greenbank, picture by Darren Valentine

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DOZENS of firefighters are battling a huge blaze at a Plymouth garage this morning.
Police say a car repair garage in Greenbank went up in flames shortly before midnight.

A section of Mutley Plain remains closed off at 9am while firefighters wait for structural engineers to inspect the damage.

Two fire crews were still at the scene at 8.30am today.
Witnesses reported hearing an explosion in the area at around 11.25pm on Wednesday.

Eight fire appliances were called to the inferno in a back lane behind North Hill, a spokeswoman for the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.
Crews remained at the scene into the early hours of Thursday.
North Hill has been closed to traffic between Clifton Place and its junction with Alexandra Road, while several nearby roads are also shut.
The flames were clearly visible from nearby Mutley Plain as the blaze quickly spread to vehicles inside the garage.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said emergency services were "hopeful" that the blaze had been brought under control by around 1am.


Just before 1am the incident was escalated to eight fire appliances with the additional appliances coming from Ivybridge, Plympton and Camels Head.

The incident support unit was also requested to provide lighting at the scene.

At 5:30am firefighters said progress was being made at the incident.

A substantial amount of foam concentrate has been used to extinguish the fire.

There are two pumping appliances and a command unit at the incident.

Western Power and BT were also requested to attend to isolate electrics and to check lines to the property.

Plymouth City Council been requested to attend to deal with asbestos contamination and a structural engineer requested due to the current state of the building and the potential for collapse.

Gas canisters and as many as seven vehicles are believed to have gone up in flames during the drama.
The spokesman described the fire as "substantial", but said nobody had been reported injured.
Most nearby residents had been allowed to stay in their homes, he added.
However, they were ordered to close all doors and windows.
The police spokesman said: "We are hopeful that Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are getting the incident under control.
"We have not got any evacuations ongoing at this time.
"It was quite a big fire, quite substantial, at one stage."
The Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman added that an earlier explosion at the site was a "distinct possibility", but could not be confirmed.
Blue fragments were seen in the sky as a wall of flames erupted at the garage, situated on a backstreet between Greenbank Road and North Hill.

One police officer said there had been an explosion - and warned there was the risk of another - due to bottled of gas potentially still being at the scene.
The cause of the fire is unclear at this time but will be investigated, emergency services said.
Several shocked onlookers praised firefighters and police, who said the blaze was under control by 1.30am.
Zara Powell wrote on Twitter: "The Streets of Plym were like something out of a film 2night.
"Well done all of the emergency services who were on top of things."
And Samuel Woods added: "Horrendous fire. Have been watching helplessly for an hour. Firemen = heroes."
Two fire appliances from Greenbank and one from Crownhill, along with Crownhill's aerial ladder platform, were initially sent to the scene.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said crews confirmed a fire involving a "commercial body repair shop garage".
The workshop was around 30 metres by 20 metres and was "well alight" when the first crews arrived, she said.
Four firefighters donned breathing apparatus as crews set to work to extinguish the flames.
They also used a hose reel jet, a main jet and a compressed air foam branch,
As the fire continued to rage, those at the scene requested a further two fire appliances.
Crews from Plymstock and Yelverton, who were already in Crownhill's station area, were also sent to the area.
By 12.20am crews from Ivybridge, Plympton and Camels Head were also called in, taking the total number of appliances to eight.
According to the fire service, the repair shop and seven vehicles inside it were involved in the fire.
At its height, firefighters used four jets, two hose reels and six breathing apparatus.
The service's incident support unit was also requested to provide lighting at the scene.
The huge blaze comes just days after cost-cutting plans to slash fire cover in Plymouth were revealed.

The kits of all the firefighters involved will need to be sent away for specialist decontamination because of the asbestos in the garage roof.


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  • why_me  |  January 18 2013, 12:56AM

    Has the Herald's reporters reduced now to copy and pasting from Twitter? #anewlow...

  • trinamortimor  |  January 17 2013, 8:32PM

    Victim... my dad has worked his entire life for that garage & everything in it, he gets on with every single person that lives close by & doesn't have a problem with anyone. it was your choice to move there knowing a garage is there which obviously means theres going to be cars around.he most certainly isn't known to be a terrible person & that is proved by the hundreds of people who have offered help and support from what's happened. after all that's happened he's getting on with things & your sat there feeling sorry for yourself. as for insurance job, I don't know what crosses your mind but my dad wouldn't dream of putting someone's life at risk for a bit of money, he's lost everything he's ever worked for. people like you amaze me, writing bitter little comments when he's lost his livelihood & is still smiling, he is the most amazing man on this planet.

    |   2
  • theeditor  |  January 17 2013, 8:13PM

    I agree with shakehead. This incident drained Plymouth of all it's fire cover, and although appliances were brought in from out-lying stations, (and Cornwall) I don't think Cameron should be so fierce with his cost cutting axe when it comes to emergency services budgets. They propose to reduce Plymouth's 7 wholetime appliance to 4 which is ludicrous considering the population of Plymouth is growing all the time. You never know when you may need them.

    |   7
  • newjanner  |  January 17 2013, 4:24PM

    Since Hazel is so keen on an accurate and offence free site may I point out that a sensor is a measuring medium while to censor or censure is to manage content of a website.

    |   8
  • PlymDavey  |  January 17 2013, 3:18PM

    In hazeblingbin's defence, the Herald only added the warnings about offensive language 2 or 3 hours after they posted the videos, AFTER the time of her post. And there are still plenty of people who would like to visit the Herald's website to find out the local news without having to hear the f word.

    |   4
  • trudie2010  |  January 17 2013, 12:05PM

    get a life hazeblingbin, it says about the offensive language, if you don't like it don't watch it then complain about it. People like you are stopping all free speech. I bet you get people banned from commenting if they upset you.

    |   -10
  • OutsideView  |  January 17 2013, 11:38AM

    Just out of interest, this building used to be the bakery for Dingles (now House of Fraser) during the 1940's when Dingles were on Mutley Plain before the present House of Fraser was built.

    |   18
  • shakehead  |  January 17 2013, 11:08AM

    Sterling Job again by our emergency services, dont cut our fire service, I would pay more on my council tax as long as it was guaranteed to go to the Fireservice and not the council coffers.

    |   31
  • haunt  |  January 17 2013, 10:42AM

    there's a warning about the language so what's the problem? Over sensitive hazel

    |   -16
  • shaun_us  |  January 17 2013, 10:12AM

    F*** sake stop moaning like you said "listen carefully"so little one would hear it anyway.get a life.

    |   -40