A CHARRED shell is all that remains of a North Bersted garage after fire ripped though it.
Eight fire engines and 55 firefighters were involved in fighting Tuesday morning’s accidental fire at DT Autos.
Dave Benham, a station manager for the service’s western group, said: “As the fire was in a commercial garage it was an extremely hazardous situation by its very nature.
“There were cars, tyres and petrol around, but a major concern was the presence of four gas cylinders.”
One contained acetylene, another argon, which exploded, and the remaining two oxygen.
“The cylinder which exploded created such force it went through the wall of the garage,” said Mr Benham.
Three fixed hose reels were used to cool the cylinders taking several hours.
Foam from an engine from Havant was used to smother flames, which were brought under control within an hour.
Mr Benham said the main priority was to ensure there was no risk to life.
“A 200 metre cordon, was placed around the area and crews tackled the blaze in three sections.
Nine cars, three inside and the rest parked outside, were destroyed.
Firefighters also worked quickly to put out the flames which had spread to the roof of a bungalow at the garage’s rear.
Guttering and fascias of another house were also melted by the heat from the flames.
Fencing, hedging and a telegraph pole were also damaged.
The alarm was raised at 11.52am and the last firefighters left the scene at 4.58pm.
For the full story see the Bognor Regis Observer out today (August 15).