EIGHTY firefighters are continuing to battle the thatch fire at the Bell Inn, North Devon.
Rectory Lane has been closed and minor asbestos found at the property. The Environment Agency has been made aware of the incident and a member of the team is present at the scene.
It has been reported that five people were evacuated from the building early this morning unharmed.
The ambulance crew was called at around 8.25am and are still on scene for safety purposes.
The fire service sent eight engines to the Bell Inn after the initial report, from Bideford, Appledore, Torrington, Hartland, Barnstaple and Holsworthy, together with a water bowser from Barnstaple and Incident Command Unit from Ilfracombe.
At 9.12am crews requested a further five appliances together with supporting appliances to attend the incident. These appliances came from South Molton, Braunton, Hatherleigh and two appliances from Bude in Cornwall, making 13 fire engines in total.
At 9.30am crews confirmed the thatch was involved in the fire.
At 10.46am fire crews were at work removing the thatch from the roof and carrying out salvage operations with 10 breathing apparatus wearers from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and six breathing apparatus wearers from Cornwall Fire Service, four hose reel jets, two compressed air foams systems jets and safety at height equipment.
At 1537 hrs – fire crews are making steady progress with two aerial ladder platforms removing the roof and continuing salvage operations. This incident will shortly be scaled down to six pumps.
This incident is still on-going.