VIDEO & GALLERY: St Neots factory fire could last three days - firefighter released from hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:45 16 July 2012

Fire at Boardcraft, Howard Road, St Neots

Fire at Boardcraft, Howard Road, St Neots


A FIRE at a St Neots factory could last three days, according to the fire service.

Two fire crews from St Neots, two from Huntingdon, one from Gamlingay, one from Papworth, a turntable ladder from Cambridge and an incident command unit were sent to Boardcraft Limited, in Howard Road Industrial Estate, Eaton Socon, at 9.40am this morning (Monday).

A fire service spokesman said: “As stated earlier the fire is under control, but there is still a deep seated fire within the building which is covered by piles of wood. “This is making firefighting very difficult as any water which can be dropped inside - using hose reels and the turntable ladder - immediately runs off the wood and fails to reach the fire underneath. It is estimated that the fire could burn for around three days because of this.”

The fire service has brought in a robot vehicle from Quintech, which provides vehicles to the London Fire Brigade, to i assess the situation as the buidling is structurally unsafe.

A firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and is believed to have felt dizzy when coming out from the building. They were taken to hospital as a precaution, and has since been released.

The fire has spread to 50 per cent of the unit, approximately 60x30msq, and firefighters had withdrawn and were concentrating on stopping the fire spreading to surrounding buildings, including an electric sub station.

Power to the sub station, supplying electricity to nearby businesses, was cut off, but by 4.30pm was back on.

It is believed that the unit will not be saved from the fire.

Firefighters arrived to find a fire that was deep seated in a dust shed attached to the factory unit that was heavily smoke logged.

The spokesman said there were several LPG cylinders in the factory.

Cambridgeshire police has closed Howard Road and a footpath leading to Boardcraft. Both have since reopened.

Andy Tucker, Incident Commander said: “In the initial stages of the incident, crews concentrated their efforts inside the building, trying to hold the fire back and also on removing a number of cylinders which were in the immediate area.

“Shortly after the cylinders were removed, the fire started rapidly spreading and it was at this point that it was deemed unsafe for firefighters to stay in the building.

“Thereafter, crews concentrated their efforts on tackling the fire from the outside and also to stop the fire from spreading to a number of adjacent buildings, including an electricity sub station which was nearby.”

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