Homes evacuated and roads shut as garage is hit by blaze

AROUND 30 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Rotherham early yesterday after fire broke out at a garage.

Several roads, including the busy A630 Sheffield Parkway, were closed for several hours after firefighters were called to the blaze in Whitehill Lane, Brinsworth, at about 1am.

More than 30 firefighters from Darnall, Mansfield Road, Central, Stocksbridge, Rotherham and Dearne fire stations were originally called to the blaze at Whitehill Garage and extinguished the fire.

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A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "Acetylene cylinders were originally believed to have been involved in the fire and a 200-metre (yards) cordon was put in place, causing around 30 people to be evacuated from nearby homes and housed overnight in a nearby school, with assistance from Rotherham Council.

"Acetylene cylinders are potentially explosive if they have been involved in fire. Standard procedures require the cylinders to be cooled with a water jet for a 24-hour period after the fire is out , and a 200-metre safety cordon to be put in place throughout that period."

After firefighters got into the garage later yesterday morning, once the fire had been put out, they found cylinders were not involved and lifted the cordon at about 7am.

The affected roads were then reopened and people could return to their homes. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze.

n South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is to begin a course for children in Barnsley today to teach them about fire safety in the home, first aid and the impact of arson attacks.