UPDATE: Combe Martin fire successfully contained

Joseph Bulmer

Chip shop blaze kept from surrounding properties after fast fire service response

THE prompt arrival of local fire fighters and their swift action prevented a fierce blaze today (Friday) at the Black and White Chip Shop in Combe Martin from becoming a dangerous inferno.

Crews from the village and Ilfracombe arrived at the seaside takeaway just after 11am to discover smoke billowing from the property and a fire raging from the chip shop fryer into the floors above.

Some traffic was initially allowed around the scene via a diversion, but at around 12.30pm the A399 through the village was closed at Church Corner. It reopened at around 4.15pm.

It was feared the fire could swiftly spread to other properties on the terrace and Watch Commander Darren Collacott immediately sent for three more fire appliances from Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Barnstaple, as well as the Ilfracombe incident support unit, bringing the total to around 30 fire fighters.

“It was in a concentrated area and was a rapidly developing fire until we turned up and tackled it,” he said.

“We managed to contain it until additional crews could arrive and support us, then we were able to get the better of it.”

“The fire alarm was in good working order and had activated to warn those inside.”

He said it was believed the fire had started in the fryer and then spread through the flue into the floors above, proving a tough job for the crews to attack in the inaccessible space.

The fire service said all three floors had suffered around per cent in fire damage, plus 10 per cent smoke and heat damage. Eight fire fighters donned breathing apparatus and three hose reel jets and two main jets were used.

The operation is now winding down as the crews still onsite complete the clean up process and ensure everything is safe.

The third storey is living accommodation but the fire service said everybody had been accounted for. The police and ambulance services were in attendance but no one was injured.

Watch Commander Collacott reminded business and home owners to ensure a fire or smoke alarm system was installed and working correctly. For free fire safety information call (01392) 872288 or visit www.dsfire.gov.uk.