Flintshire fire: Crews tackle Greenfield factory blaze

  • 24 May 2013
  • From the section Wales
Media captionSome residents were evacuated and others told to stay indoors

Firefighters remain at the site of a large blaze at a factory in Flintshire where residents were urged to stay indoors because of billowing smoke.

Crews will check for "hot spots" overnight after the fire at the Greenfield Business Park near Holywell.

Around 80 firefighters spent Friday tackling the blaze.

It spread to the Mainetti coathanger factory from a storage area causing pressurised vessels to explode. The site was evacuated safely.

Trains have been disrupted and the A548 coast road is closed from Flint to Prestatyn, with smoke also blowing across the A55.

The company said the factory, which employs 100 people, was evacuated without incident.

"Due to the significant smoke, properties have been evacuated and local residents are being advised to keep their doors and windows closed," said a North Wales Fire and Rescue spokesman.

Image caption Firefighters work to bring the blaze under control at the factory fire at Greenfield
Image caption Some local residents were evacuated while others were warned to stay indoors
Image caption This is how the fire looked from across the estuary on the Wirral
Image caption The plume of smoke at Greenfield near Holywell, Flintshire
Image caption Another photo of the smoke as seen from neighbouring Flint
Image caption The coast road was closed while firefighters tackled the blaze
Image caption Smoke over Bagillt from where views over the Dee estuary can normally be seen
Image caption The dense black smoking could been seen clearly from gardens in Holywell

Firefighters from Prestatyn, Rhyl, Flint, Mold, Buckley and Deeside were called to the scene at 10:32 BST.

The fire service said the blaze originated in external storage but then affected the factory building.

"The explosions reported were from pressurised vessels, and risk of further explosions has been minimised," a spokesperson added.

In an updated statement on Friday evening, North Wales Fire and Rescue said the advice to local residents "is still to stay indoors and keep doors and windows shut unless advised otherwise".

There has been disruption to rail travel between Chester and Holyhead due to the fire.

Virgin Trains says replacement buses are being arranged to run between Chester and Rhyl.

Rest centre

Mainetti recycles coat hangers at the plant.

Production director Graham Wilson said it was too soon to say what caused the fire.

"Our emergency procedures all worked well," he said.

"The fire service is still on site and we are thankful for the work they are doing."

Mr Wilson confirmed it was a "substantial fire," which had started outside but had spread to some of the buildings.

He said it was too soon to say when the factory would be up and running again.

Flintshire council said school transport had been sent out earlier than usual to take pupils home, and that arrangements were in place to take care of residents displaced by the fire.

Neil Ayling, director of community services said: "A rest centre has been opened at Holywell Leisure Centre for residents who require assistance or shelter.

"We would urge residents to heed the advice of the emergency services dealing with the incident and stay indoors and for motorists to avoid the area."

Image caption Steven Jones took this photo of some ash from the fire that fell from the sky

Elfyn Pierce Jones was at his home 50 metres from the factory when the fire and explosions began and said he'd never experienced anything like it.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "There was billowing black smoke, thick black toxic-smelling smoke coming over my house.

"There's been at least 50 explosions here ... my house is a 16th Century stone-built house and the windows and door frames are vibrating with the explosions - it's that bad.

"We can't get out because there is a police car across my gate - I'm a self-employed parcel courier and I've got parcels here to deliver."

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Wales officers are working with the fire service to prevent a fire water run-off from getting into the Dee estuary, a protected wildlife area and also known for its cockle beds.

"We are working with the fire service to put booms in place to make sure as little damage as possible is done to the environment," said a spokesman.

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