Extra five million litres of water taken from River Exe to fight Exeter fire

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An extra five million litres of water was taken from the River Exe because of the fire in Cathedral Green.

The figure was released by South West Water in an update explaining how the water network coped with pressure on supplies during the operation to tackle the blaze on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The fire service set up a high volume pumping station on Exeter Quay to ensure a continuous supply to the firefighting operation.

South West Water said the extra water extracted was treated at Pynes Water Treatment Works and stored in tanks at Danes Hill Service Reservoir.

A view of the fire site on Monday from an aerial ladder platform

After it had been used to fight the fire, the water was collected in the sewers and taken to Countess Wear Sewage Treatment Works, where it was cleaned, treated and returned to the River Exe near Topsham.

From Friday evening and over the weekend, staff were on hand to distribute free bottled water to those city centre residents who temporarily lost water supply.

The fire is believed to have started above Castle Fine Art in Cathedral Green, where room were being converted into apartments. Police reported the blaze to the Fire Service at 5.20am on Friday. It later spread to the Well House Tavern and the Royal Clarence Hotel.

South West Water said: "The water network is a pressurised system and large releases through fire hydrants can cause discolouration and bursts.

"Water quality was monitored during the incident and continued to meet all drinking water standards."

Bob Taylor, Operations Director (Drinking Water Services) at South West Water, thanked staff and customers in Exeter, who were asked to reduce use to conserve supplies.

He said on Monday: "Echoing the feelings of many, there's a profound sense of sadness across our offices and sites today following the fire. It was heartening to see the Exeter community pulling together to deal with this disaster.

"Water supplies are back to normal today and we would like to thank those city centre customers who restricted their water use while the firefighters battled the blaze."

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