AS FLAMES ripped through a north Swindon garage the sound of popping could be heard - as what were thought to be aerosols were destroyed in the furnace-like heat.

Yesterday, the only sign of the fire that gutted the ground floor garage on Thresher Drive were scorched windows, emergency service tape and a yard piled with blackened bric-a-brac.

24-hours earlier it was a very different picture.

Plumes of smoke obscured the quiet road, off Thamesdown Drive. Police closed the road and more than 25 firefighters from as far afield as Marlborough tackled the blaze.

Onlooker Wendy Smith, 70, said: “It was quite frightening.

“The worst of the smoke was at the back of the house, but it was billowing out here.

“There were gas canisters there. You could hear popping.

“The garage was completely gutted.”

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews were initially called shortly before 1pm on Tuesday, May 14, to reports of a house fire.

The service’s fire control said: “Crews from Stratton and Swindon fire stations were initially mobilised to the incident and, upon arrival, requested for further assistance for an additional three fire engines, as well as an aerial ladder platform to attend to deal with the incident.

“Fire crews found and dealt with a fire inside a garage of a mid-terraced property, using eight breathing apparatus sets, three high-pressure hose-reel jets and three main jets.

“The adjacent properties were also checked by the crews to ensure that there was no further fire spread.”

Volunteers from the British Red Cross' emergency response service were also called to the scene.

Last month, the county fire service issued a safety warning after a series of fires involving gas cylinders.

Station Manager Graham Kewley, from the DWFRS fire safety team, said: “Cylinders should be kept securely and located away from buildings and combustible materials wherever possible.

"Ideally, unwanted cylinders should be disposed of in a safe manner and businesses should have good housekeeping arrangements so everyone knows what cylinders are on site and where they are located.”

Anyone can request a free fire safety "safe and well visit" from DWFRS. Call: 0800 038 2323.