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Residents forced to flee as flames engulf factory

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Homes and a working men's club were evacuated as 2,000 litres of kerosene burst into flames during a factory blaze in Wolverhampton.

Homes and a working men's club were evacuated as 2,000 litres of kerosene burst into flames during a factory blaze in Wolverhampton.

Police threw a 200m exclusion zone around metal reclamation plant Tally Aluminium in East Park last night amid fears potentially explosive acetylene cylinders had been set alight.

Two workers were led to safety from the factory in Hickman Avenue as flames shot through the roof of the 40ft-high building and almost 30 firefighters battled to control the blaze.

The nearby St Matthew's Church hall was opened to cater for 16 residents forced to evacuate their homes in Chillington Fields and surrounding streets.

They were allowed to return within an hour after it was established that the three suspect cylinders contained less dangerous argon and oxygen.

Other parts of the area remained cordoned off for almost two hours.

The 3A Taxis office on East Park Trading Estate was also closed down.

Phil Smith, a driver and base operator, said afterwards: "We lost about an hour's business because we could not receive calls or give out bookings to the drivers."

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A bingo night at Chillington Working Men's Club had to be called off.

Spokeswoman Jane Smith said: "We were expecting around 200 people and will have lost quite a lot of business as a result."

Susan Jackson, aged 53, and 55-year-old husband Robert had travelled from their home in Tyning Close, Pendeford, to take part. She said: "We were just parking up when we were told to evacuate."

Around half of the factory was involved in the fire that started around 8.15pm. Watch commander Ade Cope, from Bilston fire station, said the fire is thought to have started accidentally, possibly when the kerosene was ignited by a spark from machinery. Factory officials declined to comment on the extent of the damage.

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