Bridgwater and Taunton College fire: Everything we know so far

A huge fire broke out earlier this morning at Bridgwater and Taunton College with flames as tall as 30 foot being sighted.

The incident was first reported at around 3.30am and fire crews from all across Somerset were deployed.

Witnesses claim to have heard loud bangs at the scene in Bridgwater, with one estimating that more than 150 individuals were helping tackle the blaze.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed there were 15 fire engines on site.

We have identified nine key questions from the scene this morning and answered them as best as we can with the information we currently have.

This is everything we know from the Bridgwater and Taunton College fire this morning.

A live blog is still running with updates still coming in.

Is the fire still going?

The fire is now out at Bridgwater and Taunton College, more than eight hours after it started.

An update provided by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the fire was extinguished at 11.54am.

A spokesman said: “We are damping down and expect to be on-site for the next two or three hours.”

Crews are expected to stay on-site for the majority of the day to ensure that the blaze doesn’t restart.

Have there been any injuries?

Nobody was injured as a result of the fire at the college this morning.

Ambulances were witnessed arriving in the early hours, but no injuries have been reported.

How many members of crew responded to the incident?

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said that 15 fire engines attended the college during the early hours of the morning.

One witness claimed to have seen approximately 150 individuals arrive on-site to deal with the incident.

Crews from Bridgwater, Taunton, Burnham-on-Sea, Nether Stowey, Street, Glastonbury, Wellington, Somerton, Cheddar, Winscombe and Weston-super-Mare all attended the scene.

On top of this various specialist appliances and officers were also on site.

Which buildings are affected at the college?

The fire at Bridgwater and Taunton College affected two workshops.

The motorcycle and motorsport workshops on the campus at College Way are the worst affected.

This area is at the rear of the college and was said to be ‘well alight’ when the crews first arrive on the scene.

How did the fire start?

Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation.

Loud bangs were reported to have been heard, although what these are specifically is still unkhown.

What has the college said?

Bridgwater and Taunton College issued a statement shortly after 10am saying: “Due to a fire at the campus last night, the Bridgwater Campus is closed to all staff and students today.

“This is a precautionary measure whilst the fire’s cause is investigated, and the fire service remains on campus.

“Two workshops motorcycle and motorsport have been identified as being affected.

“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the emergency services for their hard work and support during this incident.”

Who spotted the blaze?

Local resident Chris Hutter spotted the blaze in the early hours of the morning and called it into the emergency services.

He lives near the college and called the fire brigade at 3.30am as soon as he saw it.

In videos recorded by Mr Hutter you can see tall flames and billowing smoke blowing across Bridgwater.

Residents were asked to stay indoors and close and windows during the early hours of the morning by fire crews.

Mr Hutter told us: “I was watching television as I couldn’t sleep at 3.30am this morning.

“I heard loud bangs, so I looked out my bedroom window and saw white smoke and orange flames coming from the back of the college so I automatically called 999.

“The college is a less minute away from my house, so I helped with directing the fire engines to where I saw the fire coming from.

“I got back to my house now at 08.30am. I was only doing my duty as my house backs on to the college.

“I would like to thank all the emergency services for attending so quickly If I didn’t do my neighbourly duty, there would be no college left.

What did Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service say?

The most recent update from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the fire was extinguished.

A spokesman said: “We are damping down and expect to be on site for the next two or three hours.”

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire and is ongoing.”

An earlier update whilst the fire was ongoing said: “People in the local area are being advised to keep their windows shut at this time and to avoid the area.

“This building measures 80m by 60m. All the single-storey sections of the building are involved in the fire.

“Crews are currently containing the fire and protecting fire spread to the other parts of the building. We still currently have 15 Fire Engines in attendance.”

What has been the reaction from a local councillor?

Bridgwater councillor and member of the Fire Authority, Leigh Redman, said: “News reached me early this morning of a fire in what is believed to be motorsport building and motorcycle training area of the college, the area is at the rear of the college and was well alight when the first crews arrived.

The job was quickly escalated and at the peak, there were fifteen fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Burnham on Sea, Nether Stowey, Street, Glastonbury, Wellington, Somerton, Cheddar, Winscombe and Weston Super Mare and various specialist appliances and officers dealing with it.

“I am really pleased that no one appears to have been hurt, the response included Wholetime and On-Call firefighters, I want to thank all crews for their professional and perceptive response.

“I believe the decisions taken early in the incident helped limit spread, as the job winds down I hope that projects and important vehicle damage is limited so that students can get back as soon as it is safe to do so.

“My thoughts are with anyone impacted by this devastating event and hope that it was not found to be a deliberate ignition.

“The incident was brought under control and crews are currently damping down, seeking out and dealing with hot spots to prevent reignition and more importantly cooling a gas cylinder that is involved.”

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