Building evacuated as fire crews deal with gas leak at Whiddon Valley Industrial Estate
Properties were evacuated in Whiddon Valley Industrial Estate this morning following reports of a gas leak.
Fire crews from Barnstaple and Braunton were called to the scene in Westacott Road at around 11.35am.
Around 50 people were evacuated from three units at the industrial estate after the alert was raised.
Firefighters were at the scene for around three hours dealing with the incident.
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The leak involved an 18 kg cylinder which was used to power forklift trucks.
A spokesman for Carrier Direct Marketing, where the leaking cylinder was discovered, said they believe it was a faulty valve. The leak was noticed when they were changing over the gas bottles on the forklift.
Power was shut off as a precaution and firefighters moved the cylinder outside.
Water jets were deployed to disperse the gas cloud as it came out of the building.
Firefighters also used gas monitors and breathing apparatus.
Martin Davis, the fire service incident commander, said: “It was a full cylinder that had emptied its entire contents into the building so it was our concern that there was an explosion risk.
Her added: “We have been able to liaise with managers of the premises and they have been very helpful and we appreciate their co-operation.”