Crews battle factory blaze
WORKERS were evacuated from a major factory site yesterday after a fire broke out on a 60ft high conveyor belt in a waste product warehouse.Bosses at British Sugar, in Bury St Edmunds, will now conduct an investigation into the cause of the blaze alongside officials from Suffolk Fire Service and the Health and Safety Executive.
WORKERS were evacuated from a major factory site yesterday after a fire broke out on a 60ft high conveyor belt in a waste product warehouse.
Bosses at British Sugar, in Bury St Edmunds, will now conduct an investigation into the cause of the blaze alongside officials from Suffolk Fire Service and the Health and Safety Executive.
More than 50 firefighters were called to the factory, in Hollow Road, at around 7.30am when flames broke out on the conveyor belt in an animal feed warehouse, where waste materials are dried following the extraction process to provide food for cattle.
Although no staff specifically work in the building affected, those in neighbouring areas were quickly evacuated as a precaution.
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But a spokesman for the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said crews faced a number of difficulties in tackling the blaze, due to the height of the conveyor belt and heavy smoke-logging, which quickly filled the 150ft building.
He said that secondary fires also developed as burning products were carried along the belt out of the warehouse, adding that officers had been lucky some of the affected material did not explode because of the heat of the flames.
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“Crews faced a number of difficulties, not least because the blaze was around a high-level conveyor belt about 60ft up in the air,” said the spokesman.
“That, combined with the fact the area was very smoke-logged, gave the firefighters a very hard environment in which to work. There was also the risk of a flash or an explosion, because of the combination of fine, dusty materials involved and the environment in the warehouse.
“It is difficult to say what the cause of this incident is at the moment.”
Crews fought the blaze for around four hours, using thermal imaging cameras to ensure no hot spots remained after larger flames had been put out. It is not yet known how much damage was caused to the building and equipment stored within.
But activity at the factory has been scaled down as a result of the incident, with operations currently running at around two-thirds of the normal capacity.
A spokesman for British Sugar said: “The fire took place in an animal feed warehouse. It is too early to tell how much damage has been caused, or what the cause was. An investigation is already underway.
“The fire has stopped our animal feed drying operations temporarily, which has left the factory running at about two-thirds of its normal capacity.”