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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 17:59 GMT
Fears allayed over 'toxic fumes'


Fears that fumes coming from a blaze at a builder's yard were toxic have been allayed by the fire service.

Residents had been warned to stay indoors over fears that toxic smoke was coming from a fire at a builder's yard.

At one point it was feared that there could be an explosion as fumes poured from the former Barley works on Ennerdale Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury.

But a spokesman said the thick, black smoke was caused by burning plastic and residents do not need to worry.

It is thought sparks from cutting equipment being used inside the building caused the fire.

Nearby roads that were closed have now reopened.

It appears that some of the workers have accidentally set fire to some of the contents of the building and obviously caused quite a severe internal fire
Paul Hammond, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

About 40 firefighters from across the county helped tackle the blaze at the building - now called Boys and Boden Ltd - which is in the process of being converted.

People living in the area are still advised to keep windows shut.

Eyewitness Steve McCrakken said he was making a delivery in the area at the time when the fire suddenly took hold.

"I was near and I saw the chimney was on fire," he says.

"I went in to do my delivery and I came out five minutes later and the whole building was on fire with thick, black smoke everywhere. It was alarming."

But Paul Hammond, deputy fire chief of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the smoke was caused by burning plastic and was not toxic.

"What it was, was just a small amount of plastic which can actually create a lot of black smoke."

He said people in the area do not need to worry about the smoke.

"There was nothing severely toxic within there," he said.

"It appears that some of the workers have accidentally set fire to some of the contents of the building and obviously caused quite a severe internal fire.

"They were using cutting gear, cutting away at metal work in the building and a flame or a spark must have ignited something flammable, maybe plastic crates."

Dean Hammond, managing director of Boys and Boden Ltd, said demolition crews were taking out old machinery inside the building at the time.