THE owner of a house in the picturesque hamlet of Harford is picking up the pieces this morning after a devastating fire ripped through part of the building.

Firefighters were alerted around 6pm on Saturday evening of a fire in a property in the tiny moorland settlement, and did not leave the scene until Sunday afternoon.

Fire engines from Ivybridge, Modbury and Plympton were initially rushed to the Old School building and adjoining home, before rescuers realised the scale of the disaster would require more manpower. Further engines were sent first from Crownhill in Plymouth, then Buckfastleigh and Greenbank, along with an incident command unit from Totnes and a water bowser from Torquay.

An ambulance was also sent to attend to a woman suffering from smoke inhalation.

Thanks to Harford’s isolation and narrow access road, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service crews faced challenges in getting to the scene, and sourcing water. A pump was eventually set up from the nearby River Erme.

Firefighters battled through the night to save the historic building, adjacent to the Harford Moor Gate road, and its contents. By 8am on Sunday morning, they were still engaged in damping down, but had managed to save the Old School part of the building, now used as an artist’s studio, through the ’tactical use’ of water and compressed air foam.

During the incident, firefighters from Kingsbridge, Princetown, Tavistock and Newton Abbot were also in attendance.

The house itself was completely gutted by the blaze.

A spokesman for Ivybridge Fire Station said: ’All crews involved showed determination and hard work while tackling this fire in a remote location with difficult access and water supplies.

’Half of the property was saved by the tactical use of water supplies and compressed air foam.

’Crews and officers worked arduously to achieve this, and managed to salvage a large quantity of the owners possessions and furniture.’