30 firefighters battle sawmill blaze

MORE than 30 firefighters from across the Fens dealt with a fire at a sawmill in Wisbech on Tuesday. The fire at the Nene Milling factory, in Brigstock Road, started in an extractor unit that was extracting dust from a moulding machine, which shapes timbe

MORE than 30 firefighters from across the Fens dealt with a fire at a sawmill in Wisbech on Tuesday.

The fire at the Nene Milling factory, in Brigstock Road, started in an extractor unit that was extracting dust from a moulding machine, which shapes timber.

It then spread into the plant through connecting metal shoots, which contained wood shavings.

Mark Travis, manager of Nene Milling, said: "The dust and shavings had caught fire and the extraction took the fire into the hopper, where dust and shavings are separated and the shavings loaded onto a lorry to be taken away."

One fire crew from Wisbech attended, as well as two crews from March, one crew from West Walton and a turntable ladder from Dogsthorpe fire station in Peterborough. A sixth crew, from Whittlesey, had been immobilised but was sent back.

Mick Stebbings, station manager for the evening retained crew in Wisbech, attended and said: "The initial call was an automatic fire alarm (AFA) at 11.29am but, at the same time, we got a call from the premises saying it was an actual fire."

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The first crew arrived at 11.35am and found all workers had been evacuated from the single-storey building, which had become heavily smoke logged, and found the moulding machine well alight.

They used two hose reels, a jet and four breathing apparatus to put the fire out and tackled the fire from both inside and outside the building, using the turntable ladder to reach the 15-metre high hopper. They started clearing up the site at 2pm.