FIRE investigators are trying to identify the cause of this morning’s blaze in the Hills Meadow industrial estate in Douglas.
The on-duty crew based nearby in Douglas fire station were alerted after a smell of burning in the area of Hills Meadow at 2:34am.
A double garage workshop in the Riverside Industrial Estate was alight.
The officer in charge of the first fire engine attending immediately realised the seriousness of the situation and requested that two more engines be mobilised.
A fire service spokesman said: ‘The property was found to be well alight the incident was extremely difficult to deal with in regards to the potential risks within the unit.’
Crews forced entry and to bring water hoses to bear on the fire which was growing worse by the minute.
At 3.24am, a key holder confirmed that acetylene cutting equipment was on site and the incident became even more difficult and dangerous for fire crews.
Strict guidelines are always used for incidents where acetylene cylinders are involved as, once heated they can become unstable and can explode causing a possible fireball with a 25m circumference.
An exclusion zone to 200m in diameter must be instigated, with zones and cordons set up to help manage the scene.
Crews were withdrawn to the prescribed distances firefighting was initially carried out with a defensive stance meaning that no entry was made into the property during operations. A control unit was also ordered on to enable officers to manage the incident to a higher level.
The fire was eventually brought under control around 4:10am expert advice was then requested from Manx Gas and a procedure of monitoring and cooling the cylinders involved began.
A 225l drum of used motor oil also ruptured due to heat impingement and contaminated the hose water runoff, now crews had environmental issues to take into consideration.
The coastguard was mobilised to the job as it has specialist equipment and knowledge to deal with oil spills.
Hills Meadow, Riverside Industrial Estate and Middle River Industrial Estate were all closed to Public access for the duration of the incident.
Any oil contamination was successfully stopped from entering the river nearby and Coastguard personnel were cleaning up the area this afternoon.
The incident was brought to a successful conclusion at 2pm. No injuries were reported the fire was contained to the units involved.
Three fire engines and an aerial platform from Douglas Station attended the incident.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, police, coastguard and Civil Defence. Health and Safety Executives, Manx Electricity Authority electricians and Manx Gas engineers were all in attendance at some stage.
A fire service spokesman said: ‘The cause of the fire is not known at this time however, the incident is currently subject to a fire investigation with police and fire investigators still on scene.’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South west