Large fire at Cowes car workshop

By Richard Wright

Published on Monday, January 25, 2016 - 19:11


Large fire at Cowes car workshop

The fire at a car workshop in Bridge Road, Cowes, this afternoon. Picture by Solent & Wightline Cruises Ltd.

UPDATED 19:11*


RESIDENTS have been warned to keep their windows and doors shut after a fierce blaze broke out in Cowes this afternoon (Monday).

Clouds of black toxic smoke enveloped houses and flames could be seen but no-one has been reported as injured.

Homes and businesses in the vicinity were evacuated and the area cordoned off. 

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service said it received multiple calls at 12.30 to a car workshop at Medina Village, off Bridge Road, Cowes.

The fire service spokesman said they had been called to a car on a workshop ramp that was on fire in one of the units.

The fire service was told the units contained around 50 fibreglass boats, multiple cars and cylinders, including acetylene. The fire service confirmed 30 cylinders have been removed from the premises.

At its peak, the fire covered an area of 100 metres x 100 metres in a collection of units. The station officer told the County Press 40 firefighters had been battling the blaze. 

Two aerial ladders and a command unit were used. Gas cylinders in the building continue to be monitored on the ground and from the air using thermal imaging equipment on the police helicopter.

The fire was reported as being under control at 5pm and has been confined to three locations. The fire service expect to be on site overnight.

An ambulance officer from Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been on the scene liaising with the other emergency services.

No Isle of Wight emergency ambulances or patient transport vehicles have been deployed to the scene.  

An ambulance team from the mainland also provided assistance.  

However, the trust requested support from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) based at South Central Ambulance Service on the mainland. 

HART is supporting fire and rescue services at the scene.

Residents in Cowes and East Cowes were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed.  Individuals needing urgent medical advice should ring 111.

Two individuals referred themselves to the emergency department at St Mary’s Hospital, reportedly suffering from smoke inhalation. They have been treated and discharged.

An evacuation centre for Thetis Road residents was set up earlier today in the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club on Birmingham Road.

*At 18:20 the Isle of Wight Council said on Twitter that Thetis Road residents were advised to return to their homes on foot as the road remains closed.

Island Roads has put in place a number emergency road closures because of the fire. The following roads will be closed until 11:59pm tonight (Monday): 

Medina Road, Cowes, from its junction with Birmingham Road to the end of the highway at the Cowes to East Cowes Chain Ferry; 

Bridge Road, Cowes, from its junction with Medina Road to its junction with Arctic Road; 

Brunswick Road, Cowes, from its junction with Langley Road to its junction with Bridge Road; 

St Andrew's Street, Cowes, from its junction with Bridge Road to its junction with Langley Road; 

York Street, Cowes, from its junction with Bridge Road to its junction with Mill Hill Road; 

Thetis Road, Cowes, from its junction with Bridge Road to the end of the highway to the south; 

Pelham Road, Cowes, from its junction with Bridge Road to its junction with South Road.

Red Funnel car ferry services have resumed but are delayed by between 30 and 40 minutes. Booms have been placed on the River Medina to contain contamination. 

* Floating Bridge services resumed shortly after 7pm according to the Isle of Wight Council

GKN aerospace was evacuated and there were reports of a large explosion in the area. 

Eyewitness Korben Westmore, 22, a production worker at Rapanui, said: "I was eating lunch when the fire alarm went off, so I got out of there. I was watching before the fire brigade arrived, it's the most smoke I've ever seen."

Cowes Carnival has confirmed on Facebook that it has lost all its equipment and floats in the fire. 

X One Design Cowes tweeted this afternoon, saying some XODs had been lost in the fire, along with a whole fleet of Etchells.

Video by Shane Thornton.

Time-lapse video by Allan Marsh.

Video by Richard Chantler.

Pictures by County Press readers

Posted by Isle of Wight County Press on Monday, January 25, 2016

Related Stories

View our Elgin Traffic & Travel Map
Travel News