Dowty fire: Gloucestershire factory 'severely damaged'

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Media captionThe fire caused major damage to Dowty's propeller factory at Staverton

A major fire has destroyed much of a factory in Gloucestershire.

The blaze began at about midnight in the roof space of Dowty's production facility at Staverton, where propeller systems for aircraft are made.

Twenty-nine staff were evacuated from the site and led to safety. No-one was reported as injured.

Neil Siddons from GE Aviation, who owns Dowty Propellers, said it had "committed considerable resources" to get the operation back up and running.

"We are in close contact with our employees, customers, and regulatory authorities," he added.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said 80% of the factory building was "severely damaged" by the blaze, which was tackled by 80 firefighters.

Image copyright Tim Clapp
Image caption Twenty-nine staff were evacuated from the site
Image copyright
Image caption Around 80% of the factory, near Gloucestershire Airport, has been destroyed
Image caption The fire was contained in the factory which meant the main office block was saved

Chief fire officer Stewart Edgar, said: "Firefighters from all over the county have been working tirelessly under my command and will be there for the foreseeable future.

"Rest assured, the fire is well under control."

Fire crews remain on scene damping down and scaling back operations at the site.

'Future concerns'

Christine Starling, from Unite the union, said its members who work at the site were "absolutely devastated" and had been sent home.

"Everybody is in shock and at this moment in time quite worried about their future," she said.

"Obviously there must be meetings going on within the company and I would expect something to be said within the next 24 hours to the workforce about what exactly is going to happen.

"Decisions need to be made and they're not going to be quick decisions."

Mr Siddons said the company wanted to "limit the disruption" to employees and customers, and would be meeting with staff on Friday morning.

The Dowty Propellers site in Staverton - which employs 250 workers - is separate to the Messier-Bugatti-Dowty factory nearby which designs and manufactures landing gear for aircraft.

It's main production line, destroyed by the fire, makes propellers for the C130J Super Hercules and the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

Image caption Dowty makes propellers for the C130J Super Hercules (right) and the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 (left)

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