Updated: Gas cylinders involved in fire at Old Rectory, Bideford

Fire engine

Fire engine - Credit: Archant

Police appeal for information after suspected arson attack last night (Tuesday).

SEVERAL LPG gas cylinders were involved in a suspected arson attack last night (Tues) at the Old Rectory in Bideford last night.

A fire crew from Bideford was being mobilised to reports of the fire on Abbotsham Road when a resident came to warn them the building could be on fire too.

Two crews from Bideford were scrambled to the scene just before 9pm where they found a vehicle at the rear of the property engulfed in flames.

Further crews from Barnstaple and Appledore attended, as did an incident commend unit from Ilfracombe.

Watch Manager Neil Hole said crews did an excellent job in controlling the fire, which could have been a lot worse.

He said: “When we arrived it looked like the building was on fire, but on closer inspection a transit type vehicle was engulfed in flames at the rear of the property.

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“There were also a number of LPG gas cylinders between the building and the vehicle which were involved in the fire.

“Our first fears were that we could have to evacuate the area but two breathing apparatus crews used the protection of the building to fight the fire with hose reel jets.

“We managed to remove the cylinders from the fire and make them safe, before putting the fire out and stopping the spread to the property.

“There was some minor damage to the building, and it was heavily smoke logged, but we managed to prevent any major damage.”

The building was unoccupied at the time and the cause of the fire is believed to be deliberate.

A police spokesman said officers were seeking information on three male suspects, aged between 15 and 17 wearing dark coloured hooded tops.

She urged anyone who was in the area between 8pm and 9.30pm or saw anything suspicious to come forward.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on non-emergency number 101 quoting crime number CD/13/685.

Did you see the fire last night? Email your photos to sarah.howells@archant.co.uk or tweet us @northdevon24.

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