Cars destroyed in Black Country scrap yard arson attacks

Around 120 cars have been destroyed in a suspected arson attacks at a breakers yard in Cradley.

Cars destroyed in Black Country scrap yard arson attacks

Around 50 firefighters tackled the blaze, which ripped through Saltbrook Motors at 11.30 last night.

Old Land Rovers, Renault Meganes and Ford Fiestas were among the 120 scrap cars that were set alight at the yard in Saltbrook Road, Cradley.

Flames reached 70ft high as crews described being met by an 'intense heat' as they arrived at the scene.

Firefighters were forced to break into the premises by smashing locks on the main gate.

But as they did, explosions from petrol tanks inside the scrap cars forced them to find another way into the site.

Crews said the vehicles were engulfed with flames that were spreading from car to car. There was also concern that flames could spread to surrounding woodland.

First on the scene were crews from Brierley Hill, Cradley Heath and Stourbridge.

But due to the severity of the blaze, extra crews had to be drafted in to help tackle the fire.

Watch commander for Cradley Heath, Rudy Parkes, said they had anticipated the danger and began dousing the burning debris that had been scattered around the site by the explosions.

Mr Parkes said: "It was a difficult fire to tackle because of the explosions we faced.

"As soon as we dealt with one, another one happened.

"There was quite a lot of debris flying through the air, which meant initially we had to stand back and take precautions.

"Flames were reaching up towards the trees so our main concern was ensuring the flames did not spread to the trees.

"One crew from Brierley Hill entered the rear of the premises and started to tackle the blaze while we approached from the front. Our fire crews did a good job to get on top of the blaze quickly and we had it under control within an hour and a half." Mr Parkes said it was believed that arsonists had started the fire. "We believe people got in through fencing at the side. We have known of incidents here in the past."

The majority of the crews left the incident at 3.30am today – but one team had been back since to check that the fire had not re-ignited.

The site was taped off by crews while West Midlands Fire Service was attempting to contact the owners to alert them to the damage.

Police officers today searched the yard for evidence as they launched an investigation into the circumstances of the blaze.

The owner of the business was on site today surveying the damage but said he was too upset to speak about the fire.

Meanwhile around 60 cars were destroyed in a suspected arson attack in a scrapyard in Bilston.

Firefighters were called out to Joe's Cars Dismantlers on Withy Road just before 10.30 last night.

They spent several hours putting out the blaze and visited the scene again overnight and at 7am today to check that the fire was out.

West Midlands Fire Service says investigations are ongoing but it is thought that the Bilston fire was also caused by an arson attack.

Police say it is too early to ascertain whether the two blazes are linked. The owner of the Bilston yard, Joginder Singh, said around £5,000 worth of damage had been caused.

Mr Singh, aged 60, said the night before the fire there was a break- in at the site and he is now wondering if the two incidents are connected.

"We got a call from a security guard from a company across the road," he said.

"He called the fire brigade and then he called us. When we got here the flames were pretty high and it looks like the fire started at the adjoining fence of the company next door.

"With the dry seats inside the cars it went up pretty quickly."

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