A FORMER Bridgwater and Taunton College student said he could 'never have imagined' that he would return to the college two years later to fight a fire.

Owen Cheffey was one of the firefighters who were called to the college in College Way, Bridgwater, after it was engulfed in flames at around 3.30am on February 18.

Fifteen fire crews attended the scene from across the county and motorsport and motorcycle training workshops on the campus were destroyed by the fire.

A man was been arrested on suspicion of arson but he has since been released under bail conditions and police have increased patrols in the area.

READ MORE: More than £11,000 raised to help Bridgwater and Taunton College after 'devastating' blaze

Owen completed his BTEC Level 3 in Public Services at the college in the Summer of 2018 and they supported him through the 999 Academy and through his apprenticeship as an operational firefighter with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, which he started in 2019.

He said he feels 'proud' to have been able to give something back to the college

He was part of the first group of on-call firefighters in England and one of two students from the 999 academy selected by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to be offered the apprenticeship. He is now based at Bridgwater Fire Station.

Steve Widnell, Training Academy Manager said: "It is fantastic to note Owen’s journey from the 999 Academy, to the fire firefighter apprenticeship and then to see that he was able to apply all of the skills that he has learned in a real operational environment.

"It is perhaps a strange coincidence that one of the first major fires that Owen attended was at the College that has helped support him on this journey. I am sure he was especially delighted to able to play his part."

As Owen nears the end of his apprenticeship and is preparing to take his End Point Assessment, the college said they are 'very proud' of the contribution he has made to keeping the community safe and for using his skills to bring the fire under control.

Andy Berry, Principal and CEO of Bridgwater & Taunton College said: "I can’t thank the Fire and Rescue Services enough. I was so impressed by the professionalism shown, they skilfully brought the significant blaze under control and were able to save the adjacent buildings from any damage. It was particularly nice to learn that Owen, one of our former students, was part of the team."