PHOTOS: Twisted and charred remains of kitchen showroom which perished in blaze near Honiton
PUBLISHED: 16:47 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:51 28 May 2018
These images show the twisted and charred remains of a kitchen showroom near Honiton which was destroyed by a devastating blaze yesterday afternoon.
The huge unit, owned by Buckerell-based company Martha Mockford, burnt down to its foundations in the monster blaze - which was tackled by eight fire crews on Tuesday (May 23).
Owner Donovan Galling risked his life by running to the burning building, which also housed an office, to retrieve a vital server containing his clients’ data, sustaining burns to his head, ears, arms and back in the process.
Mr Galling, who has owned Martha Mockford for 30 years, said the fire started after a small bonfire he made to the rear of the property caught some ivy crawling up its concrete walls.
The blaze then took hold of urethane plastic-coated foam lining the building’s ceiling.
Mr Galling told the Herald: “My attention got taken away by somebody else on the site - when I got back to the building I noticed a small fire in the gutter.
“The flames then went ‘whoosh’ over the ceiling - it was alight in seconds. I have never seen fire move so fast.
“I tried to put it out with some water but the hose was not long enough to reach the building.
“There was nothing I could do.”
Fire crews from Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Axminster, Topsham, Cullompton and Middlemoor battled the blaze for more than eight hours and were still working to make the building safe at 10.30pm.
Mr Galling was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where his burns were tended to. He was also treated for smoke inhalation.
He said: “I’ll reiterate this - do not go into a building that is on fire. I know that building, but I walked straight in and could not find my desk - it was as black as anything.
“Eventually I found the server and ripped it out of the wall.
“I was trying to get out, but was totally disorientated.”
Mr Galling eventually stumbled out of the burning showroom, where he was treated by paramedics at the scene.
Dismissing the notion that the blaze spells the end for his company, he said: “It is absolutely not the end of Martha Mockford - it’s just a new chapter.
“This is not stopping me. I have done this for 30 years, and I know what I am doing and I enjoy it.
“The unit was more of a storage space, I had plans to re-develop it.
A steel-framed showroom is set to be erected once the fire-damaged debris is cleared from the site.
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