Homes evacuated as crews tackle Kidderminster factory fire

Homes and businesses were evacuated and roads closed today after a serious fire broke out at a Kidderminster rocket-making factory.

An exclusion zone of 600m has been set up around the area
An exclusion zone of 600m has been set up around the area

A 600m exclusion zone was put in place around Roxel at Summerfield after the alarm was raised at 8.30am today.

No-one was injured in the blaze which was being tackled by six crews of firefighters from across Worcestershire.

Police set up a cordon and closed neighbouring roads including a stretch of the A449 Worcester Road from the junction with the A442.

Roxel designs and manufactures rocket motors for tactical missiles.

Businesses on the nearby Hoo Farm Industrial Estate, off Worcester Road, were evacuated and residents in a small number of homes on roads neighbouring the site were asked to leave. They were able to take shelter at Wyre Forest Glades Centre where rest centres were set up for people who had no where else to go.

Lee Greenaway, manager at RIS Roof Centre on Hoo Farm Industrial Estate said police had arrived at 10am today and ordered everyone to evacuate.

He said: “Officers arrived and told us to get out of the area as quickly as we could.

“It only took a few minutes for us to get off the estate. I know something like this has happened in the past but I know it was a long time ago now. The main thing was to evacuate everyone as quickly as we could.”

Owen Southan, 30, who works in the warehouse at Protektor UK on the Hoo Farm estate said: “We did not know what was happening at first. The managers simply told us we had to go as quickly as we could and that’s exactly what we did.”

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s Incident Support Unit has been at the scene.

Station Commander Phil Griffiths said he couldn’t give a timescale of how long fire crews would be at the site but said they were working quickly to contain the fire and preventing it from spreading. He added: “We’d like to thank the community for their assistance and patience as we deal with the fire.”

Sgt Kevin Purcell, who is leading the policing operation, said the closure of the A449 was necessary for the safety of the public.

“Police officers are deployed to maintain the cordon placed around the site and give support to our colleagues at the fire service who are dealing with the fire itself.

“We are also liaising with local authorities to co-ordinate our response to any community impacts the fire may have.”

Wilden Lane and Stanklyn Lane have also been shut by officers.

By Heather Large 

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