Shocked residents watched on as 30 fire fighters attended a ‘fire’ in Westward Ho! - which turned out to form part of a training exercise.

Residents of Westward Ho! may have been shocked to see smoke coming from the Horizon View flats on the seafront yesterday evening (Monday).

Thankfully, this was part of a training scenario so local fire crews could test new national procedures for dealing with high-rise building fires.

Crews from Bideford, Torrington, Hartland, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe attended the scene of a 'fourth floor fire' with around 30 fire fighters taking part in the exercise.

Artificial smoke was used for added realism and multiple 'casualties' were rescued from the flats by fire crews wearing breathing apparatus.

Station manager, Graham Rooke, said: "Fires in high rise buildings present a range of logistical and physical challenges and can be an extremely hazardous environment for fire fighters.

"It is essential that we practice our emergency response in an environment that is as realistic as possible.

"The benefits from carrying out such an exercise are clear for all to see, it also reminds the residents of the importance of having working smoke alarms so that they have that early warning to escape."

Graham added that he would like to thank Blenheims Estate & Asset Management (SW) Limited and the residents' association for allowing the use of the building, and the fire crews for their hard work in making the training exercise a success.

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