Leamington Spa fire: Tributes to worker presumed dead

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David BoswellImage source, Warwickshire Police
Image caption,
David Boswell was working at Leeson Polyurethanes Ltd when the fire began

A man missing in a major fire at a plastics factory is presumed dead, police have confirmed.

"Hero" David Boswell, 52, was on shift at Leeson Polyurethanes Ltd when the blaze began on 27 August and had not been seen since.

His parents, Christine and John Boswell, said he would be "sorely missed".

Safety concerns at the scene in Leamington Spa meant it could not be searched immediately, police said.

Buildings within 100m of the Juno Drive location were evacuated, with people living within 500m advised to shut windows and doors.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The fire broke out close to residential properties

In a tribute, released through the Warwickshire force, Mr Boswell's partner Carol Fureed, said: "Dave used to brighten anyone that was feeling down with his jokes. He always knew how to have a good laugh.

"He had a heart of gold and lived for his family, friends and his passion for fishing."

His brother, Andy, added there was "never a dull moment with you around".

Close friend Ryan Hissey said Mr Boswell was a "huge character" who "left an impression on everybody he met".

Colleagues also paid tribute, including Ben Curie who said Mr Boswell was "someone I could look up to, an inspiration and a hero at work".

Media caption,

A huge plume of thick, dark smoke filed the sky while residents reported chemical smells and explosions

Det Supt Jon Marsden said due to unstable chemicals and several hotspots at the site, it had been unsafe for search teams to enter.

Police, he said, would be working with structural engineers and demolition experts to ensure a search could begin, which, he added, was "still likely to take some time".

"We appreciate how hard this is for David's family and friends, and our thoughts remain with them," he said.

"They continue to be supported and updated by specially trained officers."

Image source, Thomas/Helimed 53
Image caption,
The fire as seen from an air ambulance

Public Health England (PHE) has issued advice to people living around the site on dealing with debris from the blaze.

Although toxins or contaminates from plastics should have been eliminated as they burned, PHE said, it warned that particles could be an irritant, and precautions should be taken while dealing with soot.

PHE added it did not expect there to be a significant risk from short-term contact with soot in gardens, and advised using gloves to dispose of matter.

Image caption,
Public Health England issued advice to residents about dealing with debris from the blaze

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