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Eyewitness describes 25 foot flames in furniture store fire
AN eyewitness has described flames leapt 25 feet into the air at the height of the blaze at Christie's Furniture warehouse in Penryn last night.
This morning investigators in white suits with dogs were searching through the wreckage of the burnt out shell of the building in Commercial Road. The main part of the store did not appear to badly damaged but the warehouse was destroyed.
During the height of the blaze, at around midnight, about 300 people gathered to watch the blaze the blaze which could be seen from all over Penryn.
A cordon was set up and the crowd were told to move back over fears that oxygen cylinders would explode in a diving centre next door and concerns about asbestos pollution.
Eyewitness Carolyn Hartley of Prospect House guest house said that at one point the flames leapt up to 25 feet into the air.
"I was in my house and at first all I heard was lots of popping noises at about midnight sounding like a car getting closer and closer.
"I could just see a lot of smoke and flame just going 25 feet into the air"Carolyn Hartley
"I went outside and there were just one or two people looking on. There were no fire engines at that time. I could just see a lot of smoke and flame just going 25 feet into the air, then a fire engine arrived from the Falmouth end and then another from the Truro end.
"By this time a lot of people had gathered but I felt they were just in the way of the fire brigade trying to do their job and get on with trying to put out the fire. People were just standing there until they told them to stand back because of the dangers of the oxygen cylinders exploding and asbestos."
Fire Control in Truro received the first of over 60 999 calls to the fire which was subsequently fought by about eighty firefighters.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used five jets to extinguish the blaze.
Ten pumping appliances, the aerial ladder platforms from Truro and Newquay, the high volume pump and hose layer from Newquay, the command support vehicle from Truro and the operational support vehicles from Falmouth and St Austell went to the scene. The ten pumps are from Falmouth, Redruth, Truro, Helston, Camborne, St Keverne, Perranporth and Mullion.
The RNLI inshore lifeboat from Falmouth was also requested just after 2am to provide safety cover for the firefighters working on the water's edge. Water wass being pumped from the Penryn River on the rising tide, to add to the water supplies being pumped from nearby fire hydrants.
Just before 4am fire fighters got the blaze under control and damping down is now in progress. An investigation into the cause of the fire is already underway and will continue through the day.
The aerial ladder platform from Truro, the command support vehicle from Truro, the high volume pump from Newquay and the operational support vehicle from St Austell remain in attendance. A pump from St Austell and a pump from St Dennis are now in attendance relieving crews from Falmouth.
Two people escaped from the burning building soon after fire crews arrived. One of those has been taken to hospital, suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.
Commercial Road, Penryn is currently closed due to this fire. It is expected to remain closed for some time, whilst debris is cleared from the road surface.
Keep up to date with the road closure news by clicking onto the information icon on the home page or the left hand menu.
To view pictures of the fire and the aftermath Click Here