A West Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that 10 fire engines from across the wider brigade area were called at 2.13am to tackle the fire at Parkam Foods, which police suspect started when a skip and wooden pallets close to metal railings at the rear of the premises were set alight.
According to the spokesman, the fire then spread across the yard and threatened the 40m x 40m, single-storey building used for food processing and packaging. Initially only four engines attended the blaze, but as it spread he said they were joined by six more crews, including specialist appliances and an aerial platform.
Firefighters managed to save four-fifths of the building from destruction, and remained at the site on Saturday as isolated pockets of fire remained throughout the day.
Treacherous weather conditions
Asked about treacherous weather conditions that reportedly hampered fire-fighting efforts, with vehicles struggling to reach the site and problems with frozen water, the fire service spokesman said:
“Snowy and icy conditions are a problem on roads across the county right now, but we deal with hundreds of incidents every day, and our engines have features such as traction control, so we’re equipped to cope.”
A West Yorkshire Police police spokesman said that officers quickly cordoned off the factory site, and detectives from Bradford CID are now investigating the fire, and calling for witnesses.
“We’re appealing for anyone with information to come forward, hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused and officers believe the fire was started deliberately.”
No-one from the firm was available to comment, but according to its website, Parkam Food Group employs ovr 1,000 staff and produces cooked meat, sandwich and sandwich filler products for the retail, wholesale and foodservice sectors across five factory sites.