Evacuated families tell of Kidderminster factory fire drama

An investigation has been launched into the cause of a severe fire at a military rocket-making factory in Kidderminster which sparked a major evacuation of homes and businesses.

Firefighters at Roxel in Kidderminster
Firefighters at Roxel in Kidderminster

A 600m exclusion zone was set up around the Roxel site after the blaze started around 8.30am yesterday.

The factory designs and manufactures rocket motors for tactical missiles.

Superintendent Kevin Purcell, of West Mercia Police, said further investigations were now being made to establish the cause of the fire and he confirmed no-one had been hurt.

“Fire crews used breathing apparatus to work in the affected building,” he said. “They have ventilated the building and further investigations will now be carried out.”

Evacuees at the Mare and Colt pub
Evacuees at the Mare and Colt pub

Residents evacuated from their homes gathered at a nearby pub to await news of when they could return home.

People living in Summerfield Lane, near to the Roxel factory, were advised to leave their properties by police.

Despite their shock over what had happened, residents said there had been a “good spirit of camaraderie”.

They were allowed to return to their homes at around 2.45pm yesterday. Many residents gathered at the Mare and Colt pub, off the A449, which provided them with soup and sandwiches.Jane Wilkinson, 65, her 63-year-old husband Terry and daughter Kay, 27, were among those gathered at the pub. Mrs Wilkinson said they had been aware something serious was happening at the factory when emergency services vehicles went past their homes.

Wendy Davies, 55, of Summerfield Lane, gathered at the pub with sons Luke, 27, and 18-year-old Sean.

Sean said: “It has come as something as a shock to be honest. I have never seen anything like this happen before with all of the roads closed off.”

Marion Wilson, who was there with son Matt, said: “Our main concern is that no-one was injured.”