Firefighters tackle Xmas Eve petrol station blaze

By Ross Gazette reporter   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 30th December 2020 11:19 am
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“BRAVE and decisive” action by firefighters has been praised for preventing a service station shop fire spreading to fuel tanks on Christmas Eve.

No less than seven fire crews fought for nine hours to bring the blaze under control at the westbound Daff-Y-Nant service station off the A40 in Whitchurch.

The fire started in a store room at the Applegreen petrol station’s Budgens shop, which was only rebranded and reopened last Valentine’s Day, and includes a Greggs outlet.

Virtually all the stock was damaged by fire, smoke and water in Thursday night’s blaze, but bosses say they are working to reopen the service station two miles from Monmouth as quickly as is safely possible.

Surveying the damage on Sunday (December 27), a company spokesperson said: “We have no idea what caused it at the moment, but 99.9 per cent of the stock, such as meat and food, has been lost to fire, smoke and water damage.

“We only opened on Valentine’s Day and it’s very disappointing, but we aim to get it open again as soon as possible.

“Although there wasn’t a real risk of it spreading to the pumps, the firemen did a brilliant job.”

Regional Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service chief Phil Major posted on Christmas Eve: “Can you believe it, a petrol station fire tonight. Crews from across Herefordshire tackling the blaze brought under control in the early hours of Xmas Day.

“Great actions from the initial crews to get in and stop the fire spreading to the fuel tanks. Brave and decisive actions.”

A fire service spokesperson said: “HWFRS was called at 19.16pm on December 24 to reports of a fire in a store room and on the roof of a filling station on the A40 southbound, near Whitchurch.

“The petrol pumps were isolated while officers dealt with the fire.

“A total of six pumps attended from Whitchurch, Ross-on-Wye, Fownhope, Ewyas Harold, Hereford and Ledbury, as well as two fire service pump rescue ladders from Monmouth.

“Officers dealt with the fire using hose reel jets and breathing apparatus.

“The old A40 was closed while the fire was dealt with, and police attended.

“There were no casualties. The incident closed at 4.12am on December 25.

“An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.”

Whitchurch Fire Station, which is 500m from the scene of the blaze, posted on Christmas Day: “Busy night for crews from Whitchurch Fire Station, Ross-on-Wye, Fownhope, Ewyas Harold, Malvern, Hereford assisted by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service at a fire in a petrol station in Whitchurch last night.”

It was a hectic build-up to Christmas Day, with the station posting on Christmas Eve: “Fire crews across the service have been out since yesterday in the floods!

“Crews from Whitchurch were out from 5pm yesterday attending all sorts of incidents including house fires, cars in flood water and structural collapses.”

Emma Aubrey replied to the petrol station blaze post: “Thanks so much for your quick response last night, very much appreciated and a big thank you all round, especially in the last few challenging days.”

Ross-on-Wye Fire Station posted that 44 people had been rescued from their cars by HWFRS in last week’s flooding.

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