FIVE homes have been destroyed and residents left homeless following the massive fire that ripped through a Crediton street yesterday.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the flames after five properties in Mill Street and Buller Square caught fire at 1pm.

People have been left homeless and are now believed to be staying with family and friends, according to Mid Devon Council.

Around 25 fire engines were called to the scene from across Devon to deal with the blaze.

Crediton deputy mayor Joyce Harris, who lives near the scene, told the Mid Devon Star: “It’s absolutely devastating. The roads were closed off and there were police and fire crews everywhere.

“We’re very concerned because people’s lives are at risk and they could be made homeless. The whole town is very worried about it because several families will be affected.

“It’s also a historic part of Crediton - the buildings are very old and it’s near the birthplace of St Boniface.”

The incident caused tailbacks and traffic congestion between the East Street junction and the A377 Exeter Road junction.

Shop owner Dennis Bickford, who runs Musgrave Bickford Antiques in East Street, said it disrupted his afternoon’s trade.

He added: “The roads were blocked off so nobody could get in or out so I think it upset a lot of people who were trying to get around the town.”

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: “The incident is believed to have been started by a chimney fire.”

The fire has not claimed any casualties although some residents are said to be concerned for the welfare of their pets, which they did not have time to return for.

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