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Fire chiefs probe cause of gas cylinder explosions in Ipswich

Three fire crews from the Ipswich area tackled the blaze Picture: GARETH PERKINS/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Three fire crews from the Ipswich area tackled the blaze Picture: GARETH PERKINS/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

GARETH PERKINS/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Investigations continue on the cause of a blaze in Ipswich which led to shops and homes being evacuated after a number of gas cylinders exploded.

Emergency crews at the scene Picture: GARETH PERKINS/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICEEmergency crews at the scene Picture: GARETH PERKINS/SUFFOLK FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Fire crews rushed to the scene of the blaze in Garrick Way at around 2.40pm on Tuesday as thick black smoke billowed from the rear of Richardson’s Hardware store.

Group commander Nigel Vincent, from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the investigation team had been trawling through CCTV to find the cause of the blaze.

He said: “CCTV covering the area affected by the fire has given the investigation team valuable insight into the fire development and a point of origin has been established however no cause has yet to be confirmed.

“Large quantities of thick black smoke were seen from across different locations in Ipswich which is usual for this type of fire as it involved a large quantity of roofing felt which produces this type of smoke when on fire.”

The road was closed while firefighters worked at the scene Picture: ADAM HOWLETTThe road was closed while firefighters worked at the scene Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

The quick work of firefighters had prevented further gas cylinder explosions triggered by the heat of the blaze, Mr Vincent added.

“A number of propane and butane gas cylinders were involved in this fire,” he said.

“All gas cylinders when involved in fire due to their nature will present a significant risk to the safety of any person nearby.

“Although there are safety devices designed and built into these cylinders to reduce this risk cylinders should be stored outside away from sources of heat and ignition and used responsibly at all times. A number of cylinders did explode before the attendance of the service and further explosions were prevented due to fire fighting action by the crews.

“The rear extension of the hardware shop and an adjoining lean to building were extensively damaged as were the flat roofs of the neighbouring properties. A further detached building used as storage and workshop was also severely damaged.”

With the recent spell of hot and dry weather, Mr Vincent was keen to stress the increased risk of fire and urged the public to be aware.

He said wooden structures such as timber sheds and out buildings as well as dried out undergrowth will be more susceptible to fire.

“Bearing this in mind the public should be extra vigilant and aware that such activities as BBQs and fire pits used in domestic gardens carry a higher risk than normal,” he said.

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