Blast fear as travellers’ site suffers serious damage

The fire in Askern. Picture by Tim Ansell
The fire in Askern. Picture by Tim Ansell
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A TRAVELLERS’ caravan site had to be evacuated after a blaze ripped through it destroying homes and a vehicle.

More than 20 firefighters were called in to tackle the flames and prevent them from spreading to the rest of the site at Askern, near Doncaster.

Residents were ordered to leave their caravans at the Sutton Road site after a propane gas cylinder exploded and it was feared others might blow up if they overheated.

Fire investigators were yesterday sifting through the ruined structures to see if they could establish how the fire started at around 6.30pm on Sunday.

When the crews from Askern, Adwick and Doncaster stations arrived they had to set up a quarter mile long water relay with hoses to feed three main jets.

Water was poured on to three burning chalets and a pick-up truck parked next to them also caught fire.

The firefighters managed to ensure the flames did not spread to caravans and other buildings on the site.

No-one was injured in the incident but residents from up to 30 caravans and other types of accommodation were evacuated.

Gas cylinders were found on the site, one of which exploded, and the remaining cylinders had to be cooled down before the occupants were able to return to their homes.

It was about four hours before the fire incident commander declared the area was safe.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire had not been established and further investigations would be carried out in daylight.

Doncaster Council is also carrying out a damage assessment.

•A house in Wheatley, Doncaster, was targeted in a suspected arson attack on Friday evening.

Firefighters alerted to the blaze found seats of fire on the ground and first floor of the property in Stanhope Road.

Crews wore breathing apparatus to enter the smoke-filled house and ensure no-one was inside.

The fire took about an hour to deal with.

Police have launched an investigation into the blaze.