A DEVASTATING blaze that tore through an industrial unit near Totnes has left businesses there with ‘nothing’ in ‘the blink of an eye.’

Dozens of fire crews worked overnight battling flames that ripped through a number of business premises at Bow Mill, Broadhempston.

Crews from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were called out to the incident just before 6.30pm on Monday January 23 and remained at the scene until around 1pm yesterday.

The cause of the fire is unknown but believed to be accidental.

One of the businesses that was completely gutted was Bow Mill Stoves which stated on its Facebook page: “Bow Mill Stoves has shut as the workshop burnt down two nights ago.”

Another Facebook user said: “Totally devastated for my stepdad and everyone else that lost everything. 30 years in business and everything gone in the blink of an eye.”

The near 19-hour operation to put out the raging inferno involved multiple fire appliances from across South Devon.

In a statement, the fire service said: “The fire involved commercial workshop owned by a small business near Totnes. The cause of the fire is unknown but is believed to be accidental.

“The workshop was subject to considerable fire damage. We sent three engines from Buckfastleigh, Totnes, Paignton, Torquay, two from Honiton, Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbott, Teignmouth and Ashburton. There was an ariel ladder platform from Torquay and additional command support from Honiton.”

The National Grid also attended to isolate power to the buildings which were used as vehicle repair units.

In a Facebook post, Buckfastleigh Fire Station revealed that there was a "lack of a designated fire hydrant" which made a challenging initial response. A nearby stream ended up have to be dammed to help supply firefighters with water.

The post said: "Yesterday we were setting off to take part in an exercise at the South Devon Railway and just as we were at the entrance we were diverted to a large building fire in the Broadhempston area.

"On arrival we were faced with a well developed fire and the lack of a designated fire hydrant made for a challenging initial response.

“A local stream was dammed to provide the depth to enable us to pump from the stream to feed into a fire appliance and the aerial ladder platform that was used to fight the fire from above.

"The National Grid attended to confirm power was isolated to the buildings which were used as vehicle repair units. The occupiers were on hand to provide information to the officer in charge to enable him to assess and deal with the hazards posed within.

"We hope that these small businesses are able to recover quickly from this event and thank them for their help throughout the incident."

On the post, a heartbroken commenter said: "Absolutely devastated for my dad and everyone else that lost everything."

Another described his workshop as “totally gutted,” and said his neighbour’s workshop was also “burnt to the ground.”