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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 08:43 GMT
Crews remain at garage fire scene
Sutton Courtenay garage fire

Firefighters are still at the scene of a fire in an Oxfordshire village caused by an acetylene cylinder that exploded and set a garage alight.

About 100 homes near the garage in Sutton Courtenay, near Didcot, were evacuated on Wednesday morning.

Residents, who spent the night away, were warned it may not be safe for them to return until the evening.

Crews are cooling down another three gas cylinders and a 200m exclusion zone remains in place.

More than 80 residents spent the night at the Holiday Inn, by the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, and others were housed by family or friends.

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John Kelly, Oxfordshire County Council's emergency planning officer, praised the evacuated residents for their patience and cooperation.

"Obviously it's been a very difficult time for them but the people have been so understanding and have made our job so much easier," he said.

"We want to be able to return them home as soon as possible but we cannot take any chances with their safety which remains our number one priority."

The fire broke out at about 0700 GMT and people living near the site, at the junction of Milton Road, Harwell Road and the High Street, reported hearing explosions.

A live mains cable over the garage was also brought down by the blaze and electricity to about 35 properties was cut.

The fire service and police are investigating the cause of the fire. No-one was injured.

Eight fire engines and 90 firefighters battled the flames, which were described by eyewitnesses as 40ft (12m) or 50ft (15m) high.



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Mobile footage of gas cylinder explosion



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30 Jan 08 |  Oxfordshire

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