Burgers up in flames

Posted on 14 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

Contractors have begun removing 700 tonnes of decaying meat from the Wessex Foods factory in Lowestoft which was destroyed by fire.

Almost 100 firefighters from across Suffolk were called in to tackle the blaze which broke out at around 5pm on Sunday.

Crews were yesterday making sure contaminated water did not get into a local water course. Kevin Burton, area manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said that he had met with management of the Wessex Foods plant and local businesses in separate meetings to discuss the operation.

Mr Burton said it was not a hazard for anyone but was not good for the environment. He said businesses nearby had been extremely supportive and, at this stage, it was difficult to say how long crews would be at the site.

Firefighter Gary Phillips, assistant chief fire officer, said it was a very “severe” fire and was too dangerous to fight it from the inside. He believed the fire started in some chilling units, sending large plumes of smoke into the sky.

“It is probably the biggest fire in Suffolk for some time and it is one of the most difficult we have had to fight for some time,” he said. “It is very difficult and very hazardous and we have safety crews set up. The firefighters are working magnificently.”

According to reports, the fire tore through the majority of the factory building including the offices at the front as well as the main warehouse but no one was injured in the blaze.

The company described the fire as a “crisis situation” while the 130 employees at the food production factory are now off work with full pay.

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