A FIRE raged on Sunday morning at an industrial estate in Ilfracombe in what police have described as a “substantial fire” which has seen a man arrested on suspicion of arson.
Police spokesman Sarah Rollinson said a 59-year-old man from Ilfracombe had been arrested and released on police bail until October 25, after the fire at the R&L Laundry commercial unit in Mullacott Cross Industrial Estate
She said enquiries were continuing. Anyone with any information that could assist with the investigation should contact police on 101 quoting crime reference number CR99065/14.
She added that "extensive damage" had been caused by the fire.
The laundry is now open. Charna Collins, who works at R&L, said on Facebook: "We would just like to let people know that despite the fire in one of our units yesterday, we are still up and running."
The fire at the commercial unit was discovered by a member of staff who turned up for work around 6am, a spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.
A gas engineer from Wales and West Utilities had to be called to isolate the gas supply and prevent an explosion.
The spokesman said the incident was ongoing but the fire was under control at 8.20am.
Devon and Cornwall Police force instant manager Alastair Fry said a fire investigator was at the scene and police liaised with him there.
He said no one was hurt.
The fire service received the report from the member of staff who reported smoke inside the commercial unit.
The fire was so severe that two fire engines from Ilfracombe and one from Braunton immediately went to tackle it and by 6.49am firefighters were calling for a fourth engine from Woolacombe and one from Barnstaple, equipped with an aerial ladder.
When firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire at 6.15am, they discovered smoke coming from the single storey building and made their way in.
At 7.09am the firefighters asked for the Environmental Protection Unit join them with another engine from South Molton.
An update from the fire service added at 7.12am: “This is a fire involving a commercial laundry within a mid-terrace unit.
“Fire crews are at work with four breathing apparatus wearers and two hose reel jets via a hydrant.
“Fire crews requested a gas engineer from Wales and West Utilities to isolate the gas supply to the property.”
By 7.20am the gas and power supplies had been isolated to prevent an explosion and by 8.21 am the fire service confirmed the fire was under control.