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Cheltenham homes evacuated during disused factory fire

  • 9-27-2010

About 100 people were evacuated from their homes after a suspected arson attack at a disused factory in Cheltenham.

Fire crews tackled the fire at the old window and door manufacturer on Millbrook Street for more than three hours from 1830 BST on Sunday.

The fire service said residents were moved because nearby house windows were cracking in the heat.

There was also initially a fear there were gas cylinders inside the building.

'Intense heat'

Station manager Andy Clayton, of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "When we arrived the whole building was completely engulfed in flame.

"There was a very, very intense heat affecting the surrounding properties so our priority was to protect (them) and let the building burn.

"It's a narrow street and some of the windows have been cracked by the heat.

"At first we also had reports of gas cylinders within the building although we subsequently found out there weren't any.

"Our main priority was getting people away, getting them safe while we did our job.

"They've now returned to their houses safely."

He said the corrugated tin roof of the building, which had been empty for about 18 months, had now collapsed.

A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said: "We are treating it as suspected arson."

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