Firefighters confirm asbestos risk at Torquay town centre house blaze

Asbestos was found in a house which was the scene of a major fire and police incident in the centre of Torquay on Saturday.

Firefighters and police quickly set up a cordon around the house in Palm Road, Torre when the alarm was raised just before midday.

At the time they said it was believed asbestos was present at the two-storey house. That has now been confirmed.

Three fire crews from Torquay and Paignton were initially sent, and nearby Morgan Avenue was closed to traffic along with a number of other nearby roads. The fire had started in the kitchen of the house and the cause was put down to an electric heater.

The property was said to have been 40 per cent damaged by fire and 70 per cent damaged by smoke. Flames went through the roof of the building, and firefighters wore breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze.

More fire teams from Paignton, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Honiton were also sent to the fire, along with an aerial platform. Police told DevonLive that two occupants of the house had refused to leave and had to be ‘manhandled’ out.

There were also gas cylinders in the building, leading to what police described as ‘real danger’.

Just after 2pm it was confirmed that there was a small amount of asbestos at the property, and firefighters disposed of it. It was 7pm before a fire crew from Torquay revisited the house and confirmed that the fire was out.