Red Cross volunteers come to the aid of Devon villagers following fire near gas cylinders

Volunteers have come to the rescue of around 200 residents in Devon, forced to flee their homes after a house fire broke out near dangerously flammable gas cylinders.

The Red Cross fire and emergency support service went to the aid of a housing estate in the village of Willand and those residents caught up in the incident were moved to a rest centre set up in a nearby village hall.

The four volunteers did welfare checks with the residents to ensure everyone had what they needed, provided food for their pets and – in partnership with the Salvation Army – provided blankets and sleeping bags where they were needed.

Malcolm Cook, coordinator, said: “When we were initially called out we thought we would be dealing with just one family, but on arrival found the entire housing estate had been evacuated. That left us with around 200 people, and their pets, needing help. It soon became clear this would be a protracted incident so I called in an additional team from Plymouth, who made their way to the scene with extra blankets and sleeping bags for the residents in the rest centre.

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