Sausage factory engulfed by fire

A HUGE fire engulfed more than 40 per cent of a Cleckheaton food processing factory.

Monday, 15th February 2010, 10:45 am
Updated Friday, 19th February 2010, 8:20 am

More than 40 firefighters spent nearly five hours tackling the blaze at the Forza AW factory, in West 26 Industrial Estate, on Saturday.

Crews from Cleckheaton, Odsal, Batley and the surrounding areas arrived at around 2.35am after reports of flames seen pouring out of the factory, which produces cut meat and sausages for supermarkets including Asda.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing, but it is believed to have started in the loading area and quickly spread to the rest of the building.

Cleckheaton crew manager Craig Hill said the 'intense' fire was much bigger than they initially expected.

"We had two firefighters with breathing apparatus attacking the flames near a metal shutter, but then the shutter was lifted to reveal the extent of the fire – which was a lot deeper within the building than we thought, so we had to use an aerial unit," he said.

"The flames were quite high in the air and it was very intense. We were aware of nitrogen tanks very close to us and we had to address that risk too.

"We had two jobs to do – to keep the fire in the building at a minimum and to stop it from spreading further."

By Saturday morning the fire had been put out, but staff arriving for work were turned away as the company was forced to close its doors for the day as safety checks were carried out.

Forza AW chief executive Max Hilliard declined to comment on the incident.