MORE than 20 firefighters from four fire stations are tackling a blaze at a luxury car dealership on the outskirts of Melksham.

Crews from Bradford on Avon, Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge were mobilised to the scene just after 12.40pm today.

They used a hose reel and breathing apparatus to extinguish the fire and then fans to vent the smoke from the showroom.

An investigation is now under way into the fire at the Dick Lovett Jaguar and Land Rover luxury vehicle dealership in Commerce Way near Bowerhill.

Passers by could see smoke billowing from the building close to Melksham Police Station.

Trowbridge fire station manager Matthew Skyme said they were called out around 12.45pm to the incident on the Hampton Park Industrial Estate.

The 55 staff working at the joint Land Rover and Jaguar dealership were quickly evacuated from the building and gathered in the nearby Milk Churn pub car park.

It is understood that a 21-plate £50,000 Land Rover Defender caught fire as its battery was being charged up to put the vehicle out on display.

Mr Skyme said: "The fire was localised to just one vehicle. It has not damaged the fabric of the building in any way although the vehicle has been destroyed.

"The problem has been smoke logging. We have spent two hours trying to get rid of the smoke. Fortunately, there was no fuel in the vehicle."

Peter Lovett, the owner of the Dick Lovett chain, said: "I would like to thank the fire brigade for their rapid action in saving any lasting damage to the building.It is much appreciated."

He added: "My staff were trying to put the vehicle out on display in the car showroom and they were topping up the battery on a battery charger.

"They noticed smoke coming out of the car and inside a minute they had unplugged the battery charger.

"But the fire had started inside the car and it went up in flames. It has been completely destroyed.

"Nobody has been injured and the building is just smoke damaged. The fire crews arrived pretty rapidly and pumped water onto the vehicle to put the fire out.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened."