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of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Sunday, 4 November 2007, 14:59 GMT
150 leave homes after barn fire

Around 150 people were forced to spend the night away from their homes because of a fire in a barn in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The blaze at Edmondstown Road in Tonypandy began at around 2028 GMT on Saturday.

South Wales Fire and Rescue officers asked people to leave their homes because acetylene gas cylinders were being stored in the barn.

A nearby leisure centre was opened for temporary accommodation.

Fire crews left the scene at around 0930 GMT on Sunday after making sure the cylinders were safe, and said residents were able to return to their homes.

Alternative accommodation

Fire officers later return to inspect the gas cylinders to make sure there was no danger from them.

Parts of Edmondstown Road and surrounding roads were closed to traffic overnight, but later reopened.

Rhondda Cynon Taf opened Hawthorn Leisure Centre as a temporary refuge for evacuees but they all found their own alternative accommodation.

An investigation is underway into the cause of the blaze but South Wales Police said it was not believed to be related to fireworks.

Jonathan Edwards, whose back garden faces onto the barn, said the heat from the blaze could be felt there.

"It was a really big fire, we could feel the heat 50 feet away," he said.

Neighbour Beth Evans, had to leave her home with partner Kevin Thomas and three-year-old son Evan.

"It was frightening for us, lots of people in the area had to leave, including my elderly aunt who's in her 90s, and she was very upset."