25.1.2016 Isle of Wight workshop fire: Homes evacuated and ferries stopped


Explosions reported and residents evacuated after fire erupts at marina workshop containing flammable gas and fibreglass boats

Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue said more than 50 fire fighters tackled the blaze at Medina Village on Bridge Road in Cowes.

Fifty fibreglass boats were believed to be on the premises, as well as cars and acetylene cylinders. 

Plumes of thick, black smoke were visible around the town, billowing as high as 200ft into the air while more than 30 fire fighters tackled the blaze.

A 200m cordon had been put in place and the Cowes Chain Ferry was suspended.   The Red Funnel car ferry from Southampton to Cowes was also suspended.

Residents in Thetis Road and the surrounding streets were evacuated from their homes and witnesses reported hearing explosions.

Affected people were directed to the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club in Birmingham Road, which was set up by the Isle of Wight Council as a temporary place of shelter.

Police said smoke was moving from West Cowes towards East Cowes across the river and advised residents in East Cowes to keep their windows closed as a precaution.

South Central Ambulance said it had sent its Hazard Area Response Team to deal with suspected hazardous materials at the site.

Two people referred themselves to St Mary's Hospital in Newport for the effects of breathing in smoke.

Organisers of the Cowes Carnival charity, which stages processions throughout the island during the summer months, said new floats built to mark its 120th anniversary had been destroyed in the blaze.

Chairwoman Lynn Hammond said: "We're just a charity, people have lost their businesses, and everyone has lost so much down there.  But everyone was safe, that's more important."

Story collated by Liz Turnbull.

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