Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 17:52 UK

Fire destroys M40 Cherwell Valley services

Scene of fire (photo taken by Jane Gough)

A major fire at a service station on the M40 in Oxfordshire has gutted the main buildings and destroyed the roof.

About 120 firefighters were called to Cherwell Valley Services, north of Bicester about 1300 BST.

There were no reports of casualties on the site, South Central Ambulance Service said.

Visitors were evacuated from the area, and motorists were warned to drive carefully as smoke billowed across the motorway.

Sgt Peter Gill from Thames Valley Police said: "The roof has collapsed inwards.

"The whole building is completely gutted and has suffered very serious damage.

'Smoke everywhere'

"The fire service are expected to remain overnight, damping the blaze down."

A fire service spokesman said the blaze was thought to have started in a plant room.

He added that there were no suspicious circumstances.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said it was not thought anyone was inside the building at the centre of the blaze.

Damage caused be fire
The roof collapsed in the main building

Eyewitness Alison Hill, 20, was at the service station when the fire alarm went off.

She said: "We were rushed out of the services and heading towards the car and all of a sudden there was smoke everywhere.

"You couldn't see anything at all."

Andy Leatham, spokesperson for Moto, which runs the service station, said: "Once the fire is out the focus will be getting the area open as quickly as possible.

"At this stage, I wouldn't like to speculate when this would be."

Temporary facilities would be set up for drivers within the next few days, he said.


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