Fire in Bideford wood workshop

Joseph Bulmer

Bespoke furniture makers evacuated after smelling smoke in a wood machining room

A WORKSHOP on the Alverdiscott Road Industrial Estate, Bideford, was evacuated just before 4pm on Tuesday after a fire was discovered in the dust extraction system.

Staff at Renatus, a company which manufactures organs and bespoke wooden furniture, were alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke in a wood machining room and contacted the emergency services.

Two fire appliances from Bideford were sent to the incident and firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate the fire, which was burning in several places along a five metre length of ducting.

The crews first had to dismantle sections of the pipe work to gain access to the fire and then used chimney rods and a stirrup pump to extinguish the blaze before removing quantities of burnt wood shavings.

The fire is thought to have started when the cutting blade in a router malfunctioned and sparks were drawn up into the extraction system.

Fire crews were on scene for nearly two hours before they were satisfied that the area was safe.