60 people evacuated from homes as firefighters tackle blaze at nearby garage

SIXTY people were evacuated from their homes this morning after police feared a fire would cause gas cylinders to explode.

A blaze at a garage in Thorney forced police to evacuate around 60 residents to Thorney Primary School for their own safety.

One crew each from Thorney, Dogsthorpe, Whittlesey, Stanground, Huntingdon and the Peterborough Volunteers were called to the blaze at 12.40am.

They arrived to find a workshop in the garage - containing cars and acetylene cylinders - in Smithfield Road on fire.

Mark Bennett-Tighe, incident commander said: “This was a real threat to public safety as acetylene cylinders are particularly dangerous when they are exposed to hot temperatures and can easily explode, causing serious damage to anything close by.

“Because of the risk, we asked the police to evacuate those nearby and 50 to 60 local residents were taken to Thorney Primary School for safety.

“Firefighters worked hard to keep the cylinders cool using three ground monitors - which are hose reels, fixed to the ground - while they extinguished the fire in the building using two jets.

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“We are pleased that we managed to extinguish the fire without any injuries to either crews or members of the public.

“We would like to thank those who evacuated for their co-operation in this incident. It was pleasing to see how the whole community pulled together to assist each other.”

Crews returned to their stations by 5am. A fire investigation to determine the cause of the fire will take place this morning.

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