Fire in East Devon town spreads to flats

THE centre of Exmouth remains a ghost town as fire crews tackle a blaze which broke out at lunchtime at a shop on The Parade.

THE centre of Exmouth remains a ghost town as fire crews tackle a blaze which broke out at lunchtime at a shop on The Parade.

Police cordons are in place as thick acrid smoke continues to pour from Bargains Galore, and the flats above.

The fire service believes the blaze broke out at the rear of the shop, although this has yet to be confirmed by specialist investigators.

The town centre, including the Magnolia Centre, is closed to traffic and pedestrians because of the high level of thick smoke.


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Exmouth fire station group manager Mike White said the blaze had spread to two flats above the shop.

Mr White said: "The fire spread to the flat roof and spread to adjoining premises.

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"We have 20 firefighting appliances and two aerial platforms here.

"At this moment in time there are no injuries."

At around 3.30pm, firefighters were liaising with the police to determine a number of car owners whose vehicles were parked at the rear of the premises.

Contingency plans were put in place by the fire crews to move the vehicles if the blaze continued to spread.

It is thought the fire service required the space for additional appliances.

Earlier today Exmouth's town centre businesses were warned to keep their windows and doors shut as smoke began pouring from the stricken shop.

Exmouth police cordoned off The Parade, diverting pedestrians and traffic away from the area as scores of firefighters tackled the blaze.

Later the police cordon was extended, closing off the whole of the Magnolia Centre and parts of Exeter Road, Albion Hill and the main routes leading to The Parade.

And businesses were advised to close for the rest of the day.

Scores of parents picking youngsters up from Exeter Road Primary School, and pupils from surrounding schools making their way home through the town centre, were told to find an alternative route.

Many congregated in Albion Hill and watched in stunned silence as smoke continued to shroud the town centre.

One man was heard telephoning a friend who lived in a flat close to the burning building, telling them to 'come home straightaway'.

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