Terrified residents hear huge bangs as thick black smoke pours over homes after 'gas canister fire'
PUBLISHED: 16:42 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 20:46 10 July 2018
Shocked neighbours have described the terrifying moment they heard huge bangs from a major fire which has left thick plumes of black smoke pouring over homes.
Police, firefighters and ambulance crews are currently at the scene of a blaze in Garrick Way, Ipswich, which is believed to have been caused by gas canisters catching fire at the rear of Richardson’s Hardware store.
Sgt Ali Livingstone tweeted: “Suffolk police, Suffolk Fire and East of England Ambulance Service in attendance at fire in Garrick Way. No serious injuries, properties evacuated safely. Thanks to the public for their co-operation. Updates to follow.”
According to police, the fire happened at the parade of shops.
They have cordoned off a large section of the area, with about 30 to 40 residents gathered outside.
Sharon Vince, of nearby Macaulay Road, said: “My sister goes round to my mum’s at dinner time and then my sister suddenly saw all this smoke. Then there was a big huge bang and they did a runner.
“My mum phoned me up because we live just round the corner. She is in shock.”
Her mum Janet Bates, who lives above the hardware shop, said her daughter was looking out of the window when she saw lots of bits of paper floating in the air and a fire below.
She said: “All of a sudden the cylinders went up. We heard three or four bangs – they were ever so loud. I thought my kitchen was going to go, it was a really bad fire. We saw flames nearly reach the kitchen window.
“We just ran out of the building. If it were not for my daughter looking out of the window and seeing it, we might not have got out.”
She said she could not return to her flat tonight and was now looking for somewhere to stay.
Sue Keeble, of Willowcroft Road, Ipswich, said: “I was in the garden and saw all this black smoke.
“I opened my back gate and there was a huge bang and even more smoke went up.
“It was just a really loud bang, two or three of them. My windows shook.”
Ryan Brett was sitting in his work van when he heard a loud bang.
“I looked up and saw thick black smoke,” he said.
“As I got closer I realised it was the Garrick Way shops.
“Police were quickly on the scene and closed off the roads.”
Station commander Wayne Crabb said crews arrived at 2.30pm to discover a fire involving propane and butane cylinders.
Everyone had evacuated nearby properties by the time they arrived, allowing 25 firefighters to attack the fire from the back of the property.
Mr Crabb said 25 firefighters were tackling it at the height of the blaze and “sprayed copious amounts of water to cool cylinders down” before using a thermal imaging camera to check for hotspots and damping down.
Three fire crews, from Ipswich East, Princes Street and Stradbroke, are currently working to put out flames.
Police have confirmed that Garrick Way is currently closed while emergency services work at the scene.
Stay with us for updates on this developing story as we receive more information from the authorities.