10:30AM, Thursday 10 July 2014
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The bravery of firefighters in tackling a major blaze that went up like ‘napalm’ has been praised by the public.
The ‘absolutely huge’ fire in back gardens of Belmont Crescent in Pinkneys Green caused one gas canister to explode and left emergency personnel fearing others could also blow.
It was first reported as a ‘small shed fire’ at 9pm on Thursday, July 3.
But watch manager Steve Hogg, from Maidenhead Fire Station, said it was obvious when his team arrived that back-up would be needed.
“It looked like some one had napalmed the back garden,” he said.
The flames ripped through five sheds.
It was feared that compressed gas was being kept in one of them. Back-up crews were called in from Slough and Windsor and five homes were evacuated.
Watch manager Hogg added: "There was a cylinder that did go off in the fire. So we retreated to a safe distance to carry on fighting the fire and prevent any further damage.
"Our main issues at the time were safety of our personnel, safety of the public and to stop the fire from spreading into neighbouring properties."
In total four fire engines arrived to tackle the fire.
A Thames Valley Police helicopter also hovered overhead to monitor the situation.
No one was hurt in the blaze.
Homeowners were quick to praise the fire service's response, with the blaze dampened out by 10pm and firefighters on site until 1.30am.
Sinead Kiddle, who lives in Belmont Crescent, said: "I have got a canister of petrol in my shed and I was thinking 'oh my God that’s going to go up'.
"Thankfully nobody was hurt and what an amazing job the fire brigade did."
Neighbour, Maxine Lattimer, said she saw a flame go 'right up through' a tree.
She added: "Our whole back garden is covered in ash. It burnt a hole on our trampoline."
Alex Carlyle said he was at the back of his house when he saw 'quite a big explosion and flames all over the place'.
Another nearby resident, David Whitlock, said he saw flames coming up above the houses on the road and described the blaze as 'absolutely huge'.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said an investigation into the fire's cause is on-going.
A resident in Belmont Crescent has sent us this video of the fire. In it, flames and smoke can be seen rising up above the tree line as the fire escalates.
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