Firefighters are ‘exhausted’ from battling a derelict building blaze that broke out in Sidmouth during the early hours of Thursday morning (March 30).
These photos and videos show how a major blaze in Sidmouth has prompted calls to keep windows closed, because of acrid smoke, while water is pumped through miles of hose from the seafront river mouth, to fight the fire.
Crews from two counties have been fighting a major fire at the former district council offices at Knowle, Sidmouth, since around 4am, after smoke and flames were spotted at the empty site.
Firefighters on scene from the start who were relieved from their duties by mid-morning, returning to their stations, were ‘exhausted’, colleagues have reported.
Devon firefighters have battled for hours to bring the blaze under control, running hose lines from more than a mile away to pump water from the river mouth to douse flames.
The fire service said the local water supply would be disrupted and residents have experienced low pressure – or no water – from taps inside homes.
Residents have been warned to shut windows because of acrid smoke from the blaze.
Thick smoke has been seen over the town from more than a mile away, over Salcombe Hill.
By mid-morning, some seven pumping appliances two aerial ladder platforms and water bowsers were at the scene.
And the fire service has been liaising with experts as protected wildlife is known to be near the site.
A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “A high volume pump is being used to extract water from the quay to supply crews at the incident.
“The hose runs from the quay, up Station Road to The Knowle and road closures will be in place for several hours so please avoid the area.”
They added: “We are liaising with experts as protected bats are known to be in the area.”
Fire crews from Devon and Dorset have been at the former council offices since shortly after 4am, following reports of a ‘small glow’ in the area, and smoke.
The fire service said a crew from Sidmouth was sent to investigate and found the former council offices ‘well alight’.
Some six fire appliances and crews were tasked to the shout, along with an aerial ladder platform, which was quickly made up to eight fire appliances, two aerial ladder platforms, a water bowser, plus supporting appliances and officers, and a crew welfare unit and high pump module.
The fire service said the blaze, inside the former council headquarters, was made up of ‘several linked buildings’, which shortly before 7am had engulfed around a third of the property.
Some two hours later, crews trained water jets on three sides of the building in a bid to ‘prevent the escalation of the fire’, DSFRS said.
East Devon crews from Exmouth, Axminster, Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth and Clyst St George have been joined by Devon firefighters from Exeter, Torquay, Newton Abbot, Danes Castle, Crediton, Ivybridge, Middlemoor and Chard, in Dorset.
- Videos: Graham Symington.