FIREFIGHTERS have warned caravan owners to install smoke alarms after a blaze gutted three vehicles at a holiday park.

As reported in the Daily Echo, fire crews were called to the Sandford Caravan Park near Wareham shortly before midday on Thursday.

A gas cylinder had exploded in one touring caravan. The blaze then took hold of two others.

Four fire crews based at stations in Poole, Wareham and Hamworthy were needed to extinguish the blaze.

All of the caravans belonged to holiday-makers, some of whom were visiting the park at the time of the incident.

No one was inside any of the caravans affected when the blaze broke out, and no one was injured.

Now firefighters are urging caravan owners to take steps to ensure fire safety.

Station manager Stuart Granger, who attended the blaze, said: “Fortunately, no one was hurt on this occasion, but if the fire had happened a few hours earlier the outcome may have been very different.

"The caravan where the fire started and two others were totally destroyed.

"Caravans have limited escape options and, as they are made of lightweight and highly combustible fittings, a fire can spread very quickly.

"The warning a working smoke alarm gives can mean the difference between life and death.

"They are designed to detect fire in its early stages and can give you those precious few moments to get out safely."

Those who live in or use a caravan should fit a smoke detector.

Mr Granger said: "Smoke alarms are the first line of defence against fire."

Owners should also keep torches handy for emergencies, and maintain a safe distance between caravans when pitching up.

Caravans should be ventilated and air vent kept clear.

All appliances should be turned off before a caravan is left, or its owners go to sleep.

Gas fitting should be checked, and arrester valves used on gas bottles.

Mr Granger added: “I’d like to remind caravan users that maintaining a safe distance between caravans – including awnings – is really important as this can reduce the risk of a fire spreading.

"Crews from Wareham have been out visiting caravan and holiday parks in the local area to remind residents of these important safety precautions.”