Cornwall

Cordon is lifted after Falmouth Docks fire

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Media captionStudent Adam Rivers heard the "thud" of the explosions

A cordon around docks in Cornwall has been lifted after a fire among hundreds of acetylene cylinders was brought under control, fire bosses said.

Emergency crews were at the scene in Falmouth Docks for more than 24 hours after it broke out on Friday morning.

About 150 people spent the night away from their homes because of the 300m cordon around the site.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said that the situation was under control by 1430 BST and appliances were leaving.

Hot cylinders

The service said: "The road closure has been lifted. Everyone who had to be evacuated may now return to their homes."

The blaze started among acetylene cylinders outside a warehouse at the docks at about 0810 BST on Friday.

Image caption Fire crews were at the scene for more than 24 hours

There were no reports of injuries in the fire, and many of the 240 cylinders involved were believed to be empty.

Police had temporarily lifted the 300m exclusion zone earlier on Saturday morning, but reinstated it after firefighters found one hot and several warm cylinders.

Those moved away from the site included 60 students in an accommodation block. The Ships and Castles Leisure Centre was also shut.

People were put up overnight at the Falmouth Hotel and Cornwall Council also set up a respite centre at the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

'Essentially a bomb'

Fire crews stayed at the scene overnight, cooling the cylinders.

Nigel Vincent, of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said earlier: "It might sound as if we're just pouring water on cylinders, but there are a lot of issues in dealing with that.

"Our foremost consideration is the safety of our crew, and the impact on the public.

"Acetylene, by its very nature, is quite unstable and, when involved in a fire, creates essentially a bomb.

"That's the issue that we have - to keep the cylinders cool and reassess them on a regular basis."

Coastguards were also been involved in the incident.

Phil Mathius from Falmouth Coastguard said: "We have been assisting in traffic control [on land], and we've also been trying to police the sea-ward side as well."

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