Police have closed Heywood Road in Bideford due to a fire in a derelict building next to Rose Hill Activity Centre.

Heywood Road in Bideford is currently closed due to a fire next to Rose Hill Activity Centre this evening (Saturday).

Fire fighters, police and paramedics are currently at the scene joining the Northam Lodge site.

Fire fighters tackle the blaze at the derelict buillding in Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartFire fighters tackle the blaze at the derelict buillding in Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

Police have closed Heywood Road at the roundabout down to Raleigh Hill and are diverting traffic from the scene.

It is understood the fire, which broke out at 7.52pm, is in a derelict building.

Station manager Ian Bartlett said there was no evidence at this stage to say if the fire was started deliberately.

He said: "We were lead to believe there was a possibility there could be people in the property.

The scene of the fire in Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartThe scene of the fire in Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

"There wasn't any real evidence of anyone sleeping rough in there.

"At the moment we haven't tackled the property completely but it's my believe there isn't anybody in there.

The scene of the fire in Bideford. Picture: Tom GleesonThe scene of the fire in Bideford. Picture: Tom Gleeson

"There is no evidence to say it is accidental, but then none to say it is deliberate. I would lean towards it being deliberate.

"No-one resides in the property and there hasn't been a spread from outside."

The cause of the fire will be investigated.

Fire fighters from Bideford and Barnstaple, as well as the aerial platform ladder, initially attended the scene, and the roof was well alight.

Crews from Barnstaple, South Molton and Torrington, plus an incident command unit from Ilfracombe, also attended.

Crews are working to extinguish the blaze and no casualties have been treated.

Western Power were requested for assistance with isolating the electrical supply.

The fire was reported by Rose Hill workers Jo Burke and Sue Morley, and volunteers at the centre are keeping fire fighters supplied with tea and cake.

Our reporter at the scene has reported three fire engines are currently at the scene as well as several other fire service vehicles and ambulances.

Eyewitnesses on Facebook have reported smoke coming from the Rose Hill centre at Northam Lodge.

Check back for more details as we have them.