Rubber factory ablaze

PUBLISHED: 12:14 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:59 04 May 2010

A BLAZE ripped through a Littleport rubber factory for the second time in five months on Sunday morning. Firefighters worked for seven hours to bring the blaze under control, using a turntable ladder to reach the roof and remove panels to contain the fire

A BLAZE ripped through a Littleport rubber factory for the second time in five months on Sunday morning.

Firefighters worked for seven hours to bring the blaze under control, using a turntable ladder to reach the roof and remove panels to contain the fire.

The fire broke out just after midnight in a tyre crushing machine, quickly spreading to an extractor unit at Murfitts Industries in Wisbech Road.

By the time firefighters from Littleport arrived the factory was completely full of smoke.

The crew used breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze but had to call for help from a support unit from March and a turntable ladder from Cambridge.

Seven workers were in the factory at the time of the blaze but no-one was injured.

Littleport firefighter Brett Mills said that the fire had broken out in a machine that crushes steel bands used in tyres.

"As the bands are crushed they can spark," he said, "but water is sprayed through the machine all the time during the process to suppress the spark. The chance of a fire breaking out is small but obviously it does happen.

"It was extremely difficult to remove the sandwich panels from the roof and we had to spend time seeking out the hot spots and making sure they didn't reignite."

Last April the factory was hit by a similar fire which broke out in the same machine, spreading through the building's venting system.

Again firefighters had to strip back roofing sheets to reach the fire and created a fire break to prevent it spreading through the 30 by 60 metre aluminium-framed building.

Factory commercial manager Barry Stocker said: "This is one of the hazards of our industry and we are carrying out a full investigation. Obviously these things happen but it hasn't affected work at the factory.

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