VILLAGERS from about 30 homes evacuated following a potentially explosive fire will be allowed to return to their homes within the next few minutes.

The fire service has successfully cooled down the acetylene cylinders which were discovered in the Little Tew blaze yesterday.

They are expecting to stand down from the scene this evening. The villagers will be allowed to return home at about 4pm.

Acetylene is highly explosive once heated and carries on being explosive even after the heat source is removed.

A cordon of 20m will remain around the immediate vicinity of the site of the fire - an outbuilding in Enstone Road - until further notice.

Residents living within 200m of the blaze were had to leave their homes yesterday after firefighters, who were called at 2pm, discovered an unknown number of acetylene cylinders.

They have spent the last 24 hours cooling down the cylinders with water and used remote infra-red thermometer to assess their condition at 2.30pm today