Barnstaple firefighters have hailed the town’s community spirit as they tackled the aftermath of flash flooding on Monday (August 17).

The fire service received 85 calls to homes and vehicles affected by water, with eight fire crews and two specialist rescue teams dealing with incidents from late afternoon into the early hours of the morning.

It included helping vulnerable people to safety, pumping water out of homes, and knocking on doors to give advice and make sure everyone was safe as part of a multi-agency response.

One of the worst affected areas was the lower Newport area, where around 100 properties had water entering their premises.

Firefighters removed water from 30 of the worst-affected properties.

Two people were rescued from basement flats and others were evacuated to first floor level.

Station manager Mark Sanders, who was in the lower Newport area, said he had never seen flooding like it.

Mark said: “I was so impressed with the way the community responded to the flash flooding. It was quite unprecedented in how quickly it happened.

“In my 26 years in the service, I have never seen flooding quite like it in a short amount of time.

“For some occupiers it was a very scary time. Home owners all pulled together to help each other out, they knew how busy we were and were very supportive to us.

“They accepted that we couldn’t get to everyone as quickly as we would like and that it would take time to deal with the amount of water that had deluged the area. With the high tide it meant the water was not draining away.

“Despite the very difficult circumstances, I was very proud of our response but equally, if not more so, of the community and how positively they dealt with this extreme weather event.”