Ipswich: Metal thieves blamed for factory blaze

IPSWICH: A fuel container at a disused factory collapsed under the heat of a raging inferno.

Smoke from yesterday’s fire billowed across the A14 and five fire crews were called to the former British Sugar factory, in Sproughton Road, to battle the blaze.

Chris Gibbs, station manager from Ipswich HQ, said: “It was quite impressive, when we turned up there was thick black smoke going over the A14.

“Luckily, it didn’t cause too much trouble for drivers.”

A 20 metre-high fuel silo was engulfed in flames and the crews had to dampen down a neighbouring storage tower to prevent it catching alight.

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He explained: “There were two silos that were used for domestic fuel when the factory was operational.

“It looks like one of them had been cut open.

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“The absence of any official workers on the site suggests it may have been cut by thieves.”

Sparks created while they were cutting into the steel container are thought to have ignited the fuel residue and resulted in a full-scale fire.

As the heat built up, the silo collapsed into a crumpled wreck.

“It is not the first time we have been here,” said Mr Gibbs. “Someone ripped out some cabling and set fire to the plastic coating to get to the metal inside.”

The cabling has now been removed and the factory squashed. All that remains is four towers, standing amidst piles of rubble and debris.

“Ideally we would like to see the site completely cleared so we don’t have to come down here for these types of fires,” said the fire officer.

The Environment Agency were contacted over concerns the fuel could have leaked into the soil.

“They also had to make sure there were no issues about the run off from the foam we used,” said Mr Gibbs.

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