THREE fire crews from Combe Martin and Ilfracombe were called to a report of smoke coming from the roof of a property in Castle Street, Combe Martin, just before 4am on Sunday morning. They found smoke coming from the top floor and a fire in the downs

THREE fire crews from Combe Martin and Ilfracombe were called to a report of smoke coming from the roof of a property in Castle Street, Combe Martin, just before 4am on Sunday morning.

They found smoke coming from the top floor and a fire in the downstairs living room of the end of terrace property.

Western Power were in attendance together with a fire investigation officer. The outbreak was later confirmed as accidential.

It is understood that the owner of the property had been out for the night and had seen smoke issuing from the building on his return.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager Graham Rooke said: "The owner should be commended for not attempting to enter the property and extinguish the fire. No other people were in the premises and when further resources came from Ilfracombe entry was made to the property by four fire fighters using breathing apparatus sets, who extinguished a developing fire in the front room of the property. The remainder of the property was heavily smoke logged. It is believed that the fire started in a degraded electrical cable and spread to nearby appliances and furniture.

"The owner of the property had a lucky escape as he was out for the evening and had no working smoke detection in the property. If he had been asleep upstairs this could have been a very different outcome. The amount of smoke in the property would have been enough to have rendered him unconscious very quickly.