'Massive' overnight blaze causes £1million worth of damage to caravan park

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 October 2016

Highbridge Caravan Park on Tuesday – four days after the fire.

Highbridge Caravan Park on Tuesday - four days after the fire.

Archant

A fire which destroyed 160 caravans and caused more than £1million worth of damage is believed to have started accidentally.

Philip Davies with the little caravan which has been in the family for 30 years and was saved from the fire.Philip Davies with the little caravan which has been in the family for 30 years and was saved from the fire.

More than 80 firefighters from 23 engines battled a fire which tore through Highbridge Caravan Park, in Bristol Road.

A spokesman from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: “We believe the cause was accidental but it is still undetermined due to the severity of the fire. It has now been handed back to the owners and insurers.”

Firefighters received more than 60 calls reporting the incident, including the security guard on duty, after the blaze started in a shed.

Eye-witness David Whatley was woken up by the explosions.

He said: “I followed the sound and saw the massive plume of smoke and orange glow. I could only describe the scene as a war-torn country.”

Highbridge Caravan ParkHighbridge Caravan Park

The caravan park is owned by four brothers whose late father and uncle started the business more than 50 years ago. It is now one of the biggest caravan and motor home dealers in the country.

Director Philip Davies told the Mercury: “We couldn’t believe the sheer sight of it. There were a lot of people watching and the fire was massive. It escalated so quickly.”

Firefighters created a wall to stop the blaze from spreading. Mr Davies described the fire as growing in heat and power with every caravan it engulfed.

He added: “We are so thankful to the fire brigade because they kept coming one after the other and stopping the fire from jumping from one row of caravans to the next.”

The fire travelled from one side of the lot to the other, getting closer to the business’ workshop, which Mr Davies described as the ‘backbone of the company’.

No-one was injured in the blaze and the business was able to open as usual, hosting an open weekend as planned.

The business has been overwhelmed with support from the community.

Mr Davies said: “We are really grateful to the emergency services and to everyone who helped.

“Staff were on hand to help and do what they could and the community came in and offered to help brush up the mess.

“Our manufacturers have been moving heaven and earth to get more stock in so we can carry on.”

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