Firefighters from across Cambridgeshire tackle blaze at Fenland factory

FIREFIGHTERS from across the county are tonight tackling a blaze ripping through a Fenland plastics company.

The fire at Plasgran in Manea Road, Wimblington, broke out shortly after 3pm when workers were having a tea break. It is thought the fire is in a unit used for baling materials.

The factory is owned by Carl Waters, son-in-law of former Fenland councillor Pop Jolley, who is at the scene. Mr Waters would not comment but shaking his head, Mr Jolley said: “It is a terrible mess.”

Cambridgeshire Fire Service incident commander Steve Robinson said the single storey building measuring about 60 by 20 metres, and full of plastic material, was a total loss. Firefighters are remaining on site throughout the night.

Eight appliances, one turntable ladder, two water carriers and a high volume pump are being used to fight the fire and stop it spreading to other buildings and outside stock.

Mr Robinson said: “There were no injuries and everyone had been evacuated before we arrived.”

As thick smoke drifted from the scene and the incident was declared a possible hazard because of the materials involved, people living nearby were told to close windows and doors and stay inside.

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The company, a leader in plastic recycling, was formed in 1999 by the husband and wife partnership. It moved to its current seven acre site in 2007 and employs around 35 staff.

Jerry Smith, who lives nearby, said he was particularly concerned for a neighbour who kept animals including dogs, cats, cattle and a donkey.

“Police are going there now to ensure the animals are safe,” said Mr Smith.

He said flames could be seen coming from the factory “and it looks as if the fire has got hold. Black smoke is blowing this way – and it’s not nice.”

Barry Giddings was leaving work at nearby G’s Beetroot when he saw the thick smoke billowing across the town.

He said: “As I went to clock off I could see it over the houses. The smoke is going over the bypass and into Wimblington - you could see it from the other side of town. It just started getting blacker and blacker.

“The smell was quite strong. It didn’t just smell like smoke it smelt toxic. It wasn’t pleasant.”

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