Stafford fire: Hundreds evacuated as massive fire brought under control

A major fire that broke out in Stafford yesterday is now under control, but large plumes of smoke continued to pour out of the warehouse where at least one building has been destroyed.

Stafford fire: Hundreds evacuated as massive fire brought under control

Fifty firefighters were at Global Hygiene on the Astonfields Industrial Estate and local residents were told to keep windows shut by Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service as they battled to stop the blaze spreading to 40,000 litres of oil.

One person was inside the warehouse as the fire broke out, but they were evacuated safely and treated for minor burns. This afternoon, police said the incident would continue well into the evening and urged motorists to avoid the area.

Yesterday evening firefighters said they had massively scaled down the operation and would be keeping a watching brief overnight.

  • Fire broke out at 8.45am at Global Hygiene Warehouse

  • Large explosions and plumes of smoke seen for miles around, as schools evacuate

  • One person left with burns to hand

  • Residents urged to shut windows

  • Stafford Rangers ground being used as rendevous point

  • Blaze said to be contained by 1pm

  • Crews reduced to 10 by 4.20pm as 'severity reduces'

  • Astonfields Road remains closed

  • Firefighters to keep 'watching brief' overnight

  • Cause of fire not yet clear

  • MORE: The fire in VIDEO and PICTURES

The fire started at around 8.45am and the building had reportedly collapsed by 11am, but the fire continued to burn and explosions were head by people across Stafford.

By 1pm the fire had been contained, but smoke continued to blow in a south easterly direction throughout the afternoon.

A gas main also ruptured in the blaze, which added to problems for the emergency services.

Firefighters assured the public that the smoke does not contain anything harmful, despite coming from a supplier of cleaning and chemical products.

Two hundred pupils from St Patrick's School on Marston Road were evacuated, as were all homes and properties within a 50m radius of the blaze.

Residents have been told that there is no gas or electricity in their homes and that they must stay away. Two people who required emergency accommodation will be housed at the nearby Premier Inn for the night. It is hoped that they will be able to return to their homes tomorrow.

John Wheeldon Primary Academy on Corporation Street contacted the parents and guardians of its more than 400 students to organise their collection.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "One man has been treated at the scene for minor burns to his hands. Following treatment from medics the man was discharged and did not require hospital treatment.

"Medics from the Trusts Hazardous Area Response Team will remain on scene to support the fire service whilst they continue to fight the large fire."

"Due to the large amount of smoke, local residents are advised to keep windows closed."

More details after the images...

Ten crews from Staffordshire and four from the West Midlands were called to Global Hygiene LLP on the industrial estate, which is on Drummond Road.

Stafford Rangers Football Club agreed to use its ground as a rendezvous point while the fire was brought under control.

Global Hygiene, which is based in Stone, sells cleaning products and industrial and janitorial supplies.

A statement from the firm said today: "The fire that broke out on the Astonfields industrial estate in Stafford on the morning of March 2, 2016, originated in a Global Hygiene building that was under construction.

"There was one person in the building at the time the fire started and he was evacuated safely. Some of the neighbouring units on the technology park were also evacuated while the fire was being put out, to ensure the safety of everyone on site. We are very grateful to the fire services who responded very promptly to the emergency call.

"It is currently too early to comment on the causes of the fire, but Global Hygiene will work closely with the fire services and police services and perform a thorough investigation in the following days. A detailed statement will follow when more information is available."

Dr David Kirrage, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health England said ""Our continuing advice is for people to stay out of the smoke where possible. For those homes in the path of the smoke plume please keep doors and windows closed.

People who suffer from asthma should make sure that they have any inhalers close to hand in case they need them. From the information we have at the moment we do not believe there are any particularly harmful chemicals in the smoke, but we know that any smoke acts as an irritant and should be avoided."

Director of Prevent and Protect at Staffordshire Fire Service, Glynn Luznyj, said: "I would like to reassure residents that the fire at Global Hygiene LLP has been contained and is under control. The firefighters have worked incredibly hard to tackle the blaze hard under difficult circumstances.

"Thanks to their extensive training and expertise, along with the support of our partners, the fire was tackled as safely and quickly as possible. The incident is expected to remain stable overnight.

"At the height of the incident, there were 12 appliances as well as a high volume pump, two aerial ladder platforms, the command support vehicle, environment unit and the welfare unit at the scene. This has now been decreased to 10 appliances. A further reduced number of crews will remain at the incident overnight to keep a watching brief."

At 5pm Superintendent Steve Morrey from Staffordshire Police said: "The safety of everyone including those tackling the fire is our first priority. This afternoon we have been able to open more roads to allow people to get home and to ease congestion in the area. Marsden Road and Common Road are now fully open. A cordon remains in place on Aston fields Road however vehicle access is available from Astonfields Road onto Peter James Court. We are urging people to stay away from the area unless they live in the area."

Fiona Carding, spokeswoman for Staffordshire Fire Service, said: "We were called following reports of a fire in a warehouse.

"The fire broke out in an office area near a large amount of oil.

"We sent 10 crews from Staffordshire and four more from over the border in West Midlands.

"There is a container of heat transfer oil, which contains about 40,000 litres.

"All staff have been evacuated and to Stafford Rangers football ground.

"We are advising residents to keep their windows closed because there is a large amount of smoke in the area.

"Precautions remain in place and safety is paramount. We will continue issuing statements about the fire."

Dave Evans, who works at Morelock Installations, about 300 metres from the fire, said he saw a huge thick black cloud cover the whole of Stafford.

He said: "There is a large fire going on at the moment, opposite Stafford Rangers football ground near the industrial estate, and quite a few fire trucks and an ambulance have been in attendance.

"We don't know what's stored there but it looks like it could be tarmac, which would go up pretty quickly.

"It has caused a bit of chaos here at the moment. Traffic is fairly gridlocked and the football car park is full."

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