Explosion risk after warehouse fire in Andover

Image caption,
Businesses near the warehouse have been evacuated

A 200m (650ft) exclusion zone has been set up around a Hampshire warehouse after acetylene cylinders were found in the aftermath of a large fire.

About 50 firefighters were called to the warehouse and offices in Greenwich Way, Andover, at 0328 BST.

Businesses were evacuated in the area as firefighters from three counties spent several hours tackling the fire.

Crews will remain at the scene overnight to contain small pockets of fire and prevent the tanks exploding.

A fire service spokesman said businesses may be able to return on Tuesday, subject to a decision in the morning.

'Pose a risk'

Farnborough-based firm QinetiQ loaned a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to enter the building to help assess the cylinders.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said that heating or mechanical shock could cause the chemicals to explode and the cylinders could continue to pose a risk for up to 24 hours from the time of the fire.

The service also said small amounts of chemicals were known to be inside the building.

It has been working with Southern Water and the Environment Agency to prevent the water run-off from entering the watercourse

Earlier Kevin Evenett, of Hampshire Fire and Rescue, said: "Crews were quickly in attendance at the incident and due to their rapid and professional actions they were able to prevent the fire escalating and spreading throughout the building."

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