Depot devastated by fire

A MAJOR parcel delivery company's distribution depot was completely gutted in a fire which took ten fire crews two hours to put out.The fire broke out shortly before 11pm on Saturday night at the DHL depot in Whitehall Road, Colchester.

By Juliette Maxam

A MAJOR parcel delivery company's distribution depot was completely gutted in a fire which took ten fire crews two hours to put out.

The fire broke out shortly before 11pm on Saturday night at the DHL depot in Whitehall Road, Colchester.

A 999 call to the fire service was made when smoke was spotted coming out of the depot. When fire crews got to the scene they discovered a well-developed blaze.


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Fire pumps from Colchester, Mersea, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea, Nayland and Brentwood were scrambled, along with specialist engines from Colchester and a command support vehicle from Essex Fire and Rescue headquarters, in Brentwood.

Firefighters remained at the scene all night and throughout much of yesterday, damping down hotspots.

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An investigation into the fire was started yesterday, but arson has been ruled out.

The depot contained parcels and packages due to be delivered tomorrow morning. Three vehicles inside the depot were destroyed. The rest of the vans and lorries were parked outside and were not damaged.

Yesterday morning a DHL driver watched as firefighters continued to damp down the wreckage. "Somebody phoned me and said the place had burnt down. I didn't believe him – I thought it was a wind up," he said.

DHL spokesman Matthew Zamoyski said: "The building is extensively damaged. It won't be operational. We will be moving some of the operations to nearby branches."

He said customers whose parcels have been affected will be contacted and compensated. He said it is not usual to have lots of packages stored overnight.

He added: "There will be some disruption, but we have contingency plans developed, and we will do our best to make sure any disruption is minimised."

Mr Zamoyski said no jobs will be affected although staff will have the inconvenience of having to travel to other depots.

"The most important thing is that no-one was hurt," he added.

Any concerned DHL customers can contact the customer helpline on 0871 100300.

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