St Aubin blaze: Gallichan Marine boatyard destroyed

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Media captionHomes were evacuated as flames reached 10ft high on the Gallichan Marine boatyard building

A boatyard in Jersey has been destroyed in a major blaze.

The fire, in St Aubin, started just before 05:00 GMT and saw some residents forced to flee their homes as the flames spread.

Nearly 20 firefighters are tackling the blaze at boating firm Gallichan Marine's premises.

Group Commander Martin Maguire said it was not yet known what had caused the fire, but it was likely there were gas canisters inside the building.

He said: "We have managed to save the buildings to the right and the left although there is a small fire in the harbour gallery nearby."

Initially, the fire service told people to remain in their homes due to heavy smoke.

Bob Gallichan, who owns Gallichan Marine, said he was devastated. He said it was a shock to see the company, which he has owned for 28 years left as a shell.

'The flames were 10ft high'

Tom Muldoon, who lives next door to Gallichan Marine, said: "We woke up and saw the flames flickering off the wall and looked out to see the roof of the building next door on fire. The flames were about 10ft high.

"You could feel the heat coming through and you could hear loud banging from the building. The flames got higher and later came to the front of the building in the house where we were staying.

"It's then that the fire officers told us to leave the house. Up until then we made sure everyone was awake and had everything ready to go quickly."

Caroline Heath, who lives next door, said she woke up to screaming and banging outside.

She said: "At that point, by the time we managed to gather our things and get out of our flat we heard explosions so we screamed and ran.

"It is scary to be woken up in the night like this but we were taken care of by neighbours.

"It was very British. We had a cup of tea."

Image copyright Ed Burke
Image caption Eyewitnesses said the flames reached 10ft high at the fire's peak
Image copyright Ed Burke
Image caption At its peak the fire reached nearby buildings

Gallichan Marine is a boat showroom but it also has a workshop to service the boats.

St Brelade constable Steve Pallett said: "It is a shocking scene, there is a lot of smoke coming out of the building. It is a worry with some of these old buildings that it will be a worry to control it.

"It is the second major fire we've had down here. It is a local business and it is sad to see it happen."

Ed Burke, who lives three doors down from the fire, said he was woken by the sound of loud banging.

"I looked out of the window and saw the roof of the building was on fire. We were not evacuated but we could feel the heat of the fire.

"There was a car outside our building that was covered in bits from the fire as well as the smoke."

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