Evacuation at Blidworth after blaze

Photo  by Tammy Lewis
Photo by Tammy Lewis

A SERIES of explosions at a factory in Blidworth led to several buildings being evacuated on Tuesday morning.

Firefighters from Blidworth and Mansfield were called to the factory at Leach Way on Blidworth Industrial Estate at around 11.20am following calls from the public.

Several eye witnesses said there were around three explosions with flame balls and plumes of smoke rising to around 70ft in the air, although it is not believed that anybody was injured in the incident.

Jo Gelsthorpe, office manager at Nottingham City Couriers, which is situated next door, said staff were quickly evacuated from the building as black smoke rose in the sky.

“Everywhere went black, we thought it was a big cloud but then we heard a big bang and we left,” she said.

“Outside, we saw a massive ball of fire and you could feel the heat coming off it and we were told that we would not be allowed in for a couple of hours.”

John Durkin, of Appleton Road, said the flames were high in the sky and there was a strong smell of smoke from a burning oil drum.

“The flames were 60 to 70ft in the air, there was a terrific whooshing sound like the wind,” he said. “The flames were huge and rose up in the shape of a mushroom.”

Jane Syrett was working in a building nearby when she heard the explosions.

“We’d opened the back door and it was just black, it was very frightening and there was a toxic smell,” she said.

A Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue spokesman said that chemical cylinders and chemical containers on the outside of the factory had been damaged during the incident. Crews from Blidworth and Mansfield attended the scene for more than two hours as well as police and an environmental protection unit.