Huge fire which gutted Halesowen plastics firm was accidental
A major plastics fire at a Black Country industrial unit is believed to have started accidentally, firefighters have said.
Smoke could be seen across the region as more than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze at Solutions Acrylic & Display Limited in Halesowen on Saturday afternoon.
It is believed the fire began in a laser cutting machine at the plastics manufacturer.
One crew remained at the scene in Hayseech Road overnight damping down and making the area safe after the fire was finally extinguished following difficulties with isolating the gas supply.
Solutions Acrylic & Display's main building was left gutted but the members of staff inside were safely evacuated and nobody is believed to have been injured. No other businesses were caught up in the flames.
WATCH: Footage shows scale of fire
Video courtesy of Alexandra Firkins
Crews were called to reports of a severe fire at an industrial unit at around 11.30am and arrived in under five minutes, a spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said.
Ten appliances and more than 40 firefighters were at the scene at the peak of the fire, along with police officers and workers from the council and Cadent Gas.
Water was pumped from the nearby River Stour and crews used a hydraulic platform to douse the flames from above.
WATCH: Firefighters battle plastics blaze
Watch Commander Pete Drummond confirmed that there was asbestos in the roof and advised nearby residents to keep doors and windows closed, although he said it was of no danger to the public.
The site of the fire is near several other industrial buildings at the Beaver Park Industrial Estate and is also just 50 metres from houses on Fairmile Road.
GALLERY: Firefighters battle Halesowen blaze
"Crews were in attendance within four minutes 29 seconds," Mr Drummond said.
"They were faced with a well-developed fire in a single storey factory premises.
"The incident commander immediately made pumps six and then eight available as the fire took hold.
"There were 40 plus firefighters in total and a number of special officers.
"The firefighters had masks on because of the debris. There were reports of an asbestos roof, that is correct, however we have confirmed it is of a low danger and that's been confirmed by the council.
"It has been deemed not a danger to the public however we are advising people to keep their windows and doors shut, but there is no danger though.
"There were a number of staff in the building including one of the owners but they were quickly evacuated."
Black smoke billowed into the sky in the immediate aftermath of the fire starting and a cloud of grey smoke remained in the area well into the afternoon.
Alexandra Firkins, who lives on Fairmile Road and filmed footage of the blaze, said she could feel the heat.
The 40-year-old said: "I just looked out the window about 11.20am and thought it was a rain cloud but then saw the most horrific black smoke and brown smoke.
Interactive map shows site of fire:
"My dad lives right at the top of the road so I drove up to make sure he was OK and there were lots of people there wanting to know what was going on.
"You could feel the heat from that far away, massive orange flames and a lot of black smoke.
"The roof has just melted, it's gone to nothing.
"You could hear things popping, initially we thought it might've been tyres on fire.
"It seemed to take a while for the firefighters to get there.
"It's quite frightening as you don't see things like that down by us.
"You can still see it more than an hour later. I'm hoping nobody is hurt and the firefighters all get out ok."
Solutions Acrylic & Display, set up in 1993, describes itself as a leading UK manufacturer and fabricator of acrylic and perspex.
The company designs and makes a range of products, including display cases and leaflet dispensers, and offers services such as laser cutting, flame polishing and digital printing.
The National Express number 19 bus was diverted as a result of the fire, with stops at Fairmile Road and Hawne Lane missed out.
Reporter Jordan Reynolds was at the scene:
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