The incident began at 3am on Monday August 20 when a pallet of noodles began smouldering at Cofresh’s 24,386m2 factory at Lewisher Road, Humberstone, Leicester. The building was deserted but smoke alarms were triggered, which automatically sent a call through to Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.
Cofresh director Priyesh Patel, who was on alarm duty, was first on the scene and was able to let fire-fighters in to tackle the situation.
Fire-fighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and found that smoke was coming from a pallet of noodles in the loading bay. A forklift truck was then used to move the pallet outside.
A Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the fire crew used a main jet to damp down the pallet and thermal imaging equipment was used to ensure that the cause of the smouldering had been put out.
Patel told FoodManufacture.co.uk that fire officers told him the noodles had self -combusted. He said: “The fire brigade said it was something that does happen. It is a product that has a lot of air in it and if it has been packed very hot, it builds up the heat. They were releasing smoke but we did not have any flames.
“It was a pallet of noodles that had been rejected and were due to be picked up on Monday morning. Because it had been so hot that day and they had been packed slightly hotter than normal they began building up heat and they started to self combust. This created smoke which penetrated through the plastic bags and drifted up and triggered the alarms.”
The pallet was removed from the building and extinguished. It was taken apart and covered with water.
Patel said that no one had been in the factory at the time of the incident so no one had been hurt. Since the fire-fighters had been able to move the pallet outside before tacking the smoke, no damage had been caused internally to the factory and production was not disrupted.
“All it took was a couple of hours to clean up the water, but it was all done externally,” he added.
Cofresh is a family run business that has been trading for more than 30 years and produces more than 200 ethnic products. It operates from a factory opened in 2006 and its products are stocked by all the major multiples and many wholesalers, convenience stores and Asian grocery stores.