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Laundrette fire in East Reach, Taunton 'started in boiler room'
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- Fire behind laundrette in East Reach
- Traffic chaos for rush hour drivers
- Four fire engines on scene of blaze
THE owner of an auto paints business next door to The Laundromat entered the building with fire extinguishers in an attempt to put out the blaze before fire crews arrived on the scene.
Jon Frost of Avon Auto Colours and colleagues Ryan Rossiter and Liam Kitchker saw black smoke billowing out the back of the premises and heard cracking and popping from the other side of their wall where the fire had broke out in a boiler room.
A member of the public rushed into the shop to warn them of the fire, thinking it was coming from their premises, after which Jon went next door to make sure everyone was safe.
Jon said: "When I got there they were asking if I had any fire extinguishers, so when back and returned with two of them. We emptied them both but it made no difference at all. Then the fireman arrived and told everyone to get out while they assessed the situation."
Fire crews then told Jon to evacuate, so they moved their works vans to the Tesco store car park next door and waiting on the other side of the street for more than an hour while the blaze was being tackled.
On the other side of the Laundromat, Brian McAllister was working in the Hair By Sarah and Lisa salon when the blaze broke out.
He recalled seeing 6ft flames shooting out a hole in the roof of the laundrette's boiler room and black smoke wafting towards the petrol station.
A 20 to 30-metre cordon was set up in the street outside the Laundromat - blocking access to the salon - and firemen entered the premises on several occasions to ensure the damage had not spread next door.
Brian said: "I was still working away when the fire engines turned up at about 3.45pm and they had just about finished when I left at half past six.
"Even though the smoke was blowing away from us, it did seem to be permeating into the building out the back.
"I went back there at one point and breathed some of it in and it nearly made my choke. It had a really strong smell, like an electrical fire."
The Laundromat is closed to the public today but a sign on the door invites customers to return after 9am tomorrow to collect laundry left there.
A staff member said the owner of the business was fixing a broken-down washing machine on the shop floor when the fire broke out. It is thought the alarm was raised by a nearby resident however.
Staff are currently in the premises surveying the damage and a number of charred items have been discarded in a private garden area out the back.
All electricity, water and gas to the building has been shut off. The fire looks to have been contained in the laundrette's back boiler room, with no obvious damage on the shop floor.
INVESTIGATIONS have revealed the fire at the Laundromat in East Reach began in a boiler room at the rear of the premises.
A fire service spokesman said: "Crews extinguished the fire using six breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets, one compressed air foam jet, one safety jet and a thermal image camera."
EAST Reach has now been reopened both ways.
Traffic in Taunton is savage! Apparently east reach is on fire?!? #taunton #getmeoutofhere— @kelslawrence 10 January 2013
People traveling home tonight in #taunton avoid the town centre. Fire engines on east reach, police diverting traffic— @stusims1983 10 January 2013
A MAN has been treated for smoke inhalation following the effects of the fire in East Reach, Taunton, this afternoon.
Fire behind Tesco garage in East Reach, Taunton causing major delays.— @adkltd 10 January 2013
DRIVERS are facing rush hour traffic chaos in East Reach, with tailbacks in both directions as the fire causes major disruption.
The Esso garage is not currently selling petrol for safety reasons, although the Tesco Express store remains open.
RT @ChrisHoward_85: @CountyGazette Fire behind the Tesco express on East Reach is causing traffic chaos. http://t.co/u3s1E65l— @CountyGazette 10 January 2013
FIREFIGHTERS are tackling a large fire in East Reach, Taunton.
The blaze broke out in an outbuilding behind a laundrette near the Esso garage on Thursday afternoon (January 10).