Cladding fire breaks out at huge factory

A drone shot of Muntons maltings factory, Stowmarket. Picture: MUNTONS

A drone shot of Muntons maltings factory, Stowmarket. Picture: MUNTONS - Credit: Archant

Nine fire crews from across Suffolk were sent to the scene of a fourth-storey cladding fire at a Stowmarket factory.

Crews were called to the scene, at the Muntons plc factory in Cedars Maltings, shortly before 1pm today, Thursday, September 12.

Smoke was said to have been seen coming from the top floor behind a layer of cladding.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they had been called to reports that smoke was coming from within the cladding of the building.

He said; "This was cladding in the fourth floor of the building.

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"It appears there was a fire within theiscladding.

"The teams cut away some of the cladding to gain access to the fire.

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"They are now in the process of dampening down the area where the fire was.

"No stop has been called on the incident as yet."

He added that a number of fire crews had left the scene but that there were still six fire engines there as of 4.15pm.

A drone is now being used by firefighters to check the area for hot spots.

Doctor Nigel Davies, Muntons technical and sustainability director, said the fire started in cladding in the steeping house, a 34m building used to soak barley in the first stage of the malting process.

"Workmen were doing some cutting work on the cladding when material behind started to smoulder," he said.

"This created a lot of smoke so the alarms were activated and the building evacuated."

Dr Davies said the number of fire engines sent to site was part of the established fire plan and crews had dealt with the incident "very smoothly".

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