Blunham blaze - residents warned to keep windows closed

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Residents in Blunham are being advised to keep their windows closed as firefighters tackle a major blaze at a coach repair workshop.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are still in attendance at the fire at in Barford Road near Blunham.

Bedfordshire Fire Control received a call at 12.25 about a fire in the vehicle workshop of Chiltern Travel. Due to the presence of acetylene cylinders and fuel oil additional fire appliances have been sent to the site.

Residents in Blunham and the surrounding area are being advised to keep their windows closed to prevent fumes from entering their properties though there is not direct risk from these.

During the afternoon on-call fire crews from Sandy, Potton and Bedford have been battling the fire together with their full-time colleagues from Bedford. Water carriers from Kempston and Toddington were sent to the scene to provide additional supplies of water to enable fire-fighting to continue and the Bedford Aerial platform and the Incident Command Unit from Leighton Buzzard have also been deployed.

Firefighters are now attacking the fire from several directions using fire jets and using water curtains to prevent the fire spreading to a portacabin and a diesel tank thought to contain 500 litres of fuel. Several vehicles have been removed from the site to prevent them becoming involved in the fire.

The incident has been prolonged due to the presence of vehicle tyres and other combustible materials in the building. Early in the incident Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus to protect themselves from fumes and potential asbestos in the roof of the building isolated utilities and removed acetylene cylinders from the building that were not involved in the fire.

During the afternoon other hazards for Firefighters have been identified including argon and propane cylinders and a diesel tank believed to contain 500 litres of fuel . A water curtain is being used to prevent the spread of the fire to a portacabin and the diesel fuel tank. Several vehicles have been removed from the site to prevent them being affected by the fire.

The Bedford Aerial Platform has been deployed as an observation post to enable senior officers to have a better picture of the incident and photos have been supplied by volunteer pilots of the UK Civil Air Patrol, a registered charity, who provide pilots and aircraft to support the community and primary responders.

The pilots were out on a mission supporting Bedford Borough Council monitoring water levels in a flood alert area, when through the Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC) they were made aware of the fire. They offered to fly over and take photos for the BFRS to assist them in managing the incident.

The Potton Incident Support Unit has now been deployed to provide food for Firefighters who have been fighting the fire since mid-day.

The incident is still underway.