Timely call of nature saves Buckfastleigh community centre

By Paul James in Emergency Services

A CALL of nature saved the day for a Buckfastleigh community centre for youths and adults with learning difficulties.

Thirty people in the main building of the Camphill Devon Community were evacuated after smoke was spotted by someone wanting to use the bathroom on Sunday morning.

Staff grabbed a foam extinguisher to deal with the drama after the alarm was raised just before 11am at Hapstead Village a mile outside the town.

The fire was out by the time the Ashburton crew arrived at the remote location, having been delayed by badly parked cars in Buckfastleigh’s Jordan Street.

They called off the crews from Totnes and Ivybridge who were en route.

Firefighters said it was very fortunate the fire was spotted so quickly.

Crew manager Don Distin said: ‘Another 20 minutes and the fire could well have got hold and spread into the roof space. Then we would have been dealing with a completely different incident.’

The source of the blaze was found to be a faulty electric fan which was severely damaged in the incident.

Mr Distin said indiscriminate parking in Jordan Street held up the emergency response.

‘We were delayed by 10 to 15 minutes because cars were not properly parked in the narrow street,’ he complained.

Firefighters found one motorist who shifted his car. Another vehicle had be moved by the brigade.

They urged all motorists using the street to make sure they parked their vehicles tight against the kerb and adjusted their wing mirrors accordingly.

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