A fire in a barn building on Collaton Lane, Tavistock on Saturday night saw Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service evacuate people from the adjacent buildings.
Fire crews received a call about the fire around 1.30am and units from Tavistock and Princetown were sent to the site. When the fire crews arrived, they found a large workshop, measuring about 20 x 30 metres, ablaze.
Crews spent more than an hour battling the fire, calling for additional units including a water bowser from Plymouth to be sent to the site.
However, problems with a lack of water supply and concerns that there might be acetylene cylinders and diesel tanks in the barn meant that the fire crews were withdrawn to a safe distance just before 3am.
At the same time, fire crews helped move members of the public in buildings adjacent to the workshop to safer locations.
Western Power and the Environment Agency were called to the site to disconnect the electricity supply and assist with controlling diesel spillage.
At 7am fire crews were still monitoring the site, due to the volatile nature of acetylene cylinders.