Fire crews fight cosmetics factory blaze

By Dave GooderhamFIREFIGHTERS were praised last night after their quick-thinking actions prevented a factory blaze from escalating.The fire erupted at the Johnson Matthey factory in Sudbury, where hazardous and highly-inflammable chemicals were stored.

By Dave Gooderham

FIREFIGHTERS were praised last night after their quick-thinking actions prevented a factory blaze from escalating.

The fire erupted at the Johnson Matthey factory in Sudbury, where hazardous and highly-inflammable chemicals were stored.

More than 40 firefighters from Essex and Suffolk tackled the blaze on the Chilton industrial estate yesterday and managed to stop it from escalating into a major fire.


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Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Steggall, of Bury St Edmunds fire station, said: “The fire could have been a lot worse.

“The quick intervention of the fire service and the rapid evacuation ensured the situation didn't deteriorate further.

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“We had to deal with quite a serious fire inside the building, then after we put the fire out, we were concerned about the products inside.

“There were various solvent-based chemical-based products and we were forced to withdraw our personnel until we were sure what the chemicals were.”

The fire broke out just after 4pm in the production room of the plant, which manufactures cosmetics.

The usually-busy Chilton industrial estate was brought to a standstill as roads accessing the site were closed by police while the firefighting operation was under way.

Yvonne Miller, managing director of the adjacent Business Reply UK Limited, said staff had feared the blaze could spread to their premises.

“It was quite scary being so close and I did panic when I saw so many fire engines. Smoke was coming out of the vents, but it didn't last too long,” she added.

Bosses at Johnson Matthey declined to comment last night on the fire.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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