FAMILIES were evacuated in the early hours of this morning after a fire tore through a garage.

Eight fire crews from across south Wales were called to the Hospital Garage on Bournville Road, Abertillery, at 3.30am, and battled the blaze for several hours.

Twenty-five properties were evacuated as a safety precaution around 5am, with fears over gas canisters inside the garage.

Val Rogers, who lives on Bournville Road, went to stay with a relative who lived close by after she was told had to go.

“We were woken up at 4am with a warning saying we could be evacuated, but at around 5am, we were told to leave,” she said.

“I didn’t see the fire at first because there was so much equipment on the road. 

“It was very worrying though as we were aware that the garage contained a number of gas canisters.”

Owen Jayne, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service group manager, confirmed the canisters posed an additional danger. He also said a 250 metre cordon was enforced as a result.

“At approximately 4am this morning, fire crews were called to a fully developed fire in commercial garages,” he said.

“The crews were hampered by the involvement of the acetylene cylinders, liquid petroleum gas and oxygen cylinders in the garage.

“Due to the cylinders being involved, we had to evacuate 25 properties – some people went to family and friends while others to the Abertillery Leisure Centre. 

“That was organised by the emergency planner for Blaenau Gwent.

“We don’t know the cause at the moment but our investigating officers, the police and the owners will start the investigation at some point.”

Mr Jayne added firefighters would remain on site into the afternoon in order to ensure the cylinders inside the burnt out garage had dropped in temperature, and that no lingering hotspots were located within the premises.

Gwent Police sergeant Matt Briggs said later: “Residents are all safe and well and are starting to return to their homes after the fire service deemed it safe."