Cambridgeshire

Corkers Crisps founder 'shell-shocked' by Cambridgeshire blaze

Fire-ravaged crisp factory Image copyright Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Firefighters worked through the night to tackle the devastating blaze at Corkers Crisps in the Cambridgeshire Fens

The head of a family crisp firm, which has had most of its site gutted by fire, said he had been left "shell-shocked" and "devastated".

The blaze engulfed its factory site in Pymoor, near Ely, after breaking out just before 15:00 BST on Saturday.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said no-one had been hurt and firefighters would remain on site.

Chief executive Ross Taylor, who founded Corkers Crisps in 2010, said: "It literally went in minutes."

He established the gourmet crisp business - which has about 100 employees and turns over £10m a year - on the family's potato farm.

"I am shell-shocked, devastated - my family's whole heirloom has gone," said Mr Taylor.

"My mother lives there and is devastated - it was her father's and great grandfather's farm - there are generations of work all just gone."

"Within two hours the whole site had gone apart from one building."

Image copyright Corkers Crisps
Image caption Mr Taylor (far left) was pictured with Princess Anne at the factory in October
Image copyright Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Mr Taylor said an engineer called the fire service before he arrived at the scene

Mr Taylor said the food business had been working "as normal" throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but there were only engineers on site when the blaze broke out.

He said it was not yet known what started the fire.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Firefighters were still working on Sunday to tackle small pockets of fire within the tangled metal structure

Mr Taylor vowed to carry on with the business even though "everyone is just so shocked trying to get to terms with what it means".

"I've never given up so we'll see how we feel next week when we dust ourselves down - I can't let it go," he said.

Sixty firefighters from three counties were called to the Willow Farm site, and a thick plume of black smoke could be seen in the sky for miles.

Image copyright Karen Lons
Image caption People were urged to avoid the area, with local residents warned to keep windows closed

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