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Summary

  1. Major blaze at city leisure centre
  2. Care home allegations investigated in Cornwall
  3. Cornwall Council budget: £33m cuts and rise in council tax voted through
  4. Fire crews from Devon and Cornwall tackle house blaze
  5. Pregnant ewe dies after Valentine's Day dog attack
  6. Thieves steal £900 worth of goods in Bodmin shop ram raid
  7. Nurses 'left in tears' over changes to South Devon hospitals
  8. Updates on Tuesday 21 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Wednesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

The latest news on the fire at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter will be on Spotlight on BBC One at 22:30. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Riverside Leisure Centre blaze: Damage 'quite severe'

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Police say a leisure centre in Exeter will be closed "for some time" following a large fire.

Speaking in a live online broadcast, Insp Mat Helm, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said the damage inside the Riverside Leisure Centre was "quite severe".

"The fire is still active up on the roof, aggressively punching holes in it," he said.

Matt Helm
Devon and Cornwall Police

Fire still burning at leisure centre

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

The fire at Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter is still burning and firefighters are still on site.

At its peak 120 firefighters were working at the scene, 15 using breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze.

Two gerbils among those evacuated from Exeter fire

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Police have revealed that two gerbils, as well as up to 50 people, were evacuated after a fire broke out at a leisure centre in Exeter.

Insp Mat Helm said the two pets were rescued as the evacuations took place near the Riverside Leisure Centre.

M&S cafe 'full of mostly naked people'

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Police in Exeter have paid tribute to staff at a nearby cafe.

The Marks & Spencer Cafe acted as an evacuation centre after the fire started at the Riverside Leisure Centre just after 16:15 today.

Cafe
BBC

Insp Mat Helm said: "The M&S cafe has been fantastic. It's probably the first time it was full of mostly naked people and they're probably hoping it will be the last."

He said it also served as a base for the South Western Ambulance HART (Hazardous Area Response Team).

Low number of injuries - 'very lucky'

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Police said it was "very lucky" there was only a low number of injuries at a fire at Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter.

One customer sustained minor burns and a member of staff suffered smoke inhilation, Insp Mat Helm said. 

There are about 100 firefighters on site, with police resources from across Exeter and Mid Devon. 

Officers were drafted in from other areas to allow normal policing to continue in Exeter, Insp Helm added.

Leisure centre fire: The latest

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Leisure centre
BBC
  • Fire crews were called to the building at 16:17
  • The fire was initally reported in a first floor sauna, but spread to the roof
  • A total of 15 fire appliances attended the scene
  • About 20 people were evacuated from the swimming pool
  • There are two reported injuries – one with minor smoke inhalation and one with a minor burn.  Both casualties were treated at the scene
  • Residents of neighbouring buildings were asked to leave - some have returned
  • In total up to 50 people have been evacuated from the centre
  • The fire has now been downgraded from 'major incident' to 'critical'
Leisure centre
BBC
Leisure centre
BBC

Fire downgraded from 'major incident' to 'critical'

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

A fire at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter has been downgraded, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed.

One-hundred firefighters remain at the site.

People from a house evacuated due to the fire have also been allowed to return home, the BBC has been told.

View more on twitter

More than 100 firefighters remain at blaze site

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Cranes used to survey fit-hit leisure centre roof

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

Two huge cranes are being used to survey the roof of the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter after a fire broke out earlier this afternoon.  

At its height, more than 120 firefighters attended the blaze.

Two people have suffered minor injuries and up to 50 people have been evacuated from the centre.

Crane
BBC

Fire crews remain at leisure centre - four hours after being called

Exeter fire: Two people evacuated 'successfully housed for night'

120 firefighters attend Exeter leisure centre fire

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

Riverside Leisure Centre fire: What we know so far

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Riverside Leisure Centre
BBC
  • Fire crews were called to the building at 16:17
  • The fire was initally reported in a first floor sauna, but spread to the roof
  • A total of 15 fire appliances attended the scene
  • About 20 people were evacuated from the swimming pool
  • Firefighters reported "a lot of smoke" coming from the building
  • There are two reported injuries – one with minor smoke inhalation and one with a minor burn.  Both casualties were treated at the scene
  • Residents of neighbouring buildings were asked to leave 
  • In total up to 50 people have been evacuated from the centre
  • A nearby Marks & Spencers cafe is acting as a reception centre 
  • Some neighbourhood police officers have taken people home
  • The South Western Ambulance HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) are providing assistance

Video: Riverside Leisure Centre fire

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Leisure centre fire in Exeter

Major leisure centre blaze: Residents asked to leave neighbouring property

Press Association

Residents of a property next to a leisure centre in Exeter which is on fire have been asked to leave by police as a precaution.

Emergency services were called to the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter, Devon, at about 16:20. Roads have been closed to allow emergency vehicles access to the scene, including around 15 fire appliances. 

About 20 people were evacuated from the swimming pool, which had become engulfed in smoke. 

Care home placements suspended

Cornwall Council is investigating a Launceston care home amid allegations about the care it provides.

The home provides accommodation and services for up to 46 people with mental health needs, learning or physical disabilities.  

The entrance to the Bowden Derra Park care home
BBC

Tributes to student who died in fall

BBC Wales News

Tributes are paid to a south Wales law student who died after an accident at a university halls of residence in Plymouth.

Discovery Heights Halls of Residence
Google

Fire service urges residents near blaze to close windows

About 15 engines on site to tackle blaze

Harriet Bradshaw

Reporter

Footage from our reporter on the scene

Two injured in leisure centre blaze

Ben Chapple

BBC News Online

Police are urging the public to avoid the Alphington Road and Exe Bridges area, as the emergency services continue to deal with the fire at Riverside Leisure Centre.

Officers said about 40-50 people were evacuated from the centre, including about 20 from the swimming pool as it "became engulfed in smoke".

A police update said two people reported injuries - one with minor smoke inhalation and one with a minor burn - and both were treated at the scene.

Leisure centre fire: What we know so far

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A fire at Exeter's Riverside Leisure Centre has been declared a major incident by emergency services. 

Here's what we know so far:

Leisure centre fire
BBC
  • Fire crews were called to the building at 16:17
  • Appliances and crews have been called from as far afield as Exeter, Bovey Tracey, Crediton, Cullompton, Exmouth, Ottery St Mary, Teignmouth and Torquay
  • Firefighters reported "a lot of smoke" coming from the building 
  • Twenty people were evacuated from the swimming pool alone
  • The fire was initally reported in a first floor sauna
  • The blaze was located in the health suite of the fitness centre, and efforts were under way to bring it under control and stop any further spread, fire crews said 
  • There were concerns it could spread to the roof
  • Police have been looking after children and other swimmers who had to leave the building in their swimming costumes
  • A cafe at a neighburing Marks & Spencer store has been used as an evacuation centre
  • Traffic has been badly affected in the area

Water supplies 'expected to return within two hours'

Severe disruption: A377 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

A377 Devon northbound severe disruption, at Haven Road affecting Marsh Barton Road.

A377 Devon - A377 Alphington Street in Exeter closed and very slow traffic inbound at Riverside Traffic Lights, because of a building fire. Congestion to Seven Stars Traffic Lights.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

More fire crews called in to tackle blaze

Exeter fire: Traffic hit by road closures

Leisure centre fire: Police look after children

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police at the scene of a fire in a leisure centre have been helping young evacuees - who were swimming when they had to leave the building - reunite with their parents.

Police at fire scene
BBC

One officers told members of the media at the scene: "One of the things we've been doing is ensuring that as many of these folks in Speedos can get home as soon as possible.

"We've been doing a few ferry runs, making sure kids have got their parents, etc."

Devon and Somerset Fire Service said 20 people were removed from the centre's swimming pool when the building was evacuated. 

Water supplies problems in Exeter

View more on twitter

The problems have been reported in the same area of Exeter which has seen a fire break out in a leisure centre.

The Riverside Centre fire has been declared a major incident by emergency services.

Leisure centre fire: 'I just left everything and got out'

BBC Spotlight

One man who was evacuated from the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter after a fire broke out said he "just remembered what I was told at school - I just left everything and got out".

Leisure centre fire evacuee
BBC

He said: "I grabbed a coat, but everything else is left in there. You're just thinking of safety, so you just get out, as we were told to do."

About 20 people had to be evacuated from the swimming pool in the building.

Police have declared the blaze a major incident.

Leisure centre fire: Concern it may spread to roof

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Devon and Cornwall Police have declared the fire in Exeter as a major incident.

The fire at the Riverside Leisure Centre is still burning and there is concern it may spread to the roof.

Care home investigations: 'Health, safety and wellbeing our top priorities'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A care home near Launcestion for people with disabilities at the centre of allegations about made the care it provides says the "health, safety and wellbeing of the individuals we care for are always our top priorities".

Bowden Derra Park at Polyphant offers residential and nursing care for adults with learning disabilities. Cornwall Council, has suspended it 44 placements at the home, and said it was is carrying out investigations with NHS Kernow.

Bowden Derra Park said: "We are continuing to work closely with Cornwall Council, with whom we had a positive meeting today, and who have confirmed that no-one is at risk. We are very proud of the high quality support we provide, and are confident the current investigations will conclude swiftly."

It added: "Our focus remains continuing to provide the same excellent care that we have done for more than 38 years."

Leisure centre fire 'a major incident'

Hospital services cuts: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

BBC News Health

Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.

The proposals have been made by NHS bosses as part of a national programme to transform the health service and save money across 44 different areas.

How are Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly faring?

Hospital sign
BBC

The challenge: The area will have a funding gap of £264m by 2020-21 if nothing is done.

What is being done?

The area will look at its use of buildings and get rid of properties no longer required. There are currently 13 community hospitals, with a total capacity of 314 beds and a cost of £32m per year, which the plan says are not used effectively, not fit for purpose and are not sustainable. People clinically fit to be discharged are using 35% of community hospital bed days. 

The plan proposes the reconfiguration of the current 13 community hospital sites by developing a new model of "integrated community hubs".

Out-of-hours support

The area will also set up an improved NHS 111 phone line and out-of-hours phone support, to direct people to help without going in to hospital. Sharing back-office functions and "collaborating to make more efficient and effective use" of the workforce could make savings, but not much more detail than that is provided.

Exeter leisure centre fire: 'A lot of smoke from the building'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

View more on twitter

Firefighters say 10 pumping appliances have been called to a fire at a leisure centre in Exeter.

Devon and Somerset Fire Service said crews were called to the Riverside Leisure Centre at about 16:15 and 20 people were removed from the centre's swimming pool when the building was evacuated.

"There is a lot of smoke from the building," it added.

Cornwall council tax rise a 'comfortable victory for the administration'

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Plans to save a further £33m and raise council tax have been passed by Cornwall Councillors at County Hall.

The cuts for the 2017/18 budget - which were to total £34m, but £33m was agreed on - and a council tax rise of 4%, including a 2% for social care, were approved by 64 votes for to 29 against and two abstentions.

Cornwall Council
BBC

The average council tax payer will be forking out £1 a week more from April, with half of this going to help fund social care.

Further job cuts at the authority are also on the cards, because it said it had been left with no choice as the government's spending squeeze continued. 

The vote was a comfortable victory for the administration.

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • One person is treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a leisure centre in Exeter
  • Allegations against a care home for people with disabilities have not raised concerns "anyone is at immediate risk of harm", Cornwall Council says
  • Plans to save a further £33m and raise council tax by 4% are passed by Cornwall Council members
  • Health bosses in Devon deny claims about a ward closing in Torbay Hospital and services being moved elsewhere
  • An official site built to house travellers who lived on an illegal encampment at a Devon beauty spot could be extended by three pitches
  • An investigation is begins into the cause of a fire in north east Cornwall after six crews from Cornwall and Devon are called to the scene

Truro v Gosport: Teams try to avoid relegation zone

BBC Sport

Truro City take on Gosport Borough this evening, in what's turned out to be a crucial match at Treyew Road.

Truro are three points from the relegation places in the National League South, while Gosport are a place below them.

'Drive safely' warning after car overturns