A barn fire in a Devon village threatened to dramatically escalate last night (Tuesday) as it was storing scores of highly explosive gas cannisters.

The fire service was called at 5.50pm with reports of a barn on fire along the Five Bridges Road in Halberton, just outside Cullompton.

Fire crews, five fire engines and a water bowser were sent from six stations.

They found a barn measuring around 10x25 metres burning.

The situation became even more dangerous as the building was storing 20 liquid petroleum gas bottles, three propane cannisters and a butane cannister.

Firefighters succeeded in removing the highly explosive cannisters before the fire reached them.

Using main jets, a hose reel jet and a compressed air foam jet, the fire was brought under control.

The barn was 80 per cent damaged by the fire and the remaining 20 per cent was damaged by the smoke and heat.

Fire crews returned to the farm this morning (Wednesday) to check for hotpots and to further dampen down.