Walkers Crisps plant production restored after fire

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service dealt with the blaze
Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service dealt with the blaze

Related tags Leicester

PepsiCo’s Walkers Crisps factory at Leycroft Road, Beaumont Leys, Leicestershire, has returned to normal production levels following a blaze that took 60 firefighters to bring under control.

The fire is believed to have started at a large deep fat chip fryer within the factory, which is thought to be one of the world’s biggest snack food plants, employing 2,500 people.

Fire crews from Leicestershire and Rutland were alerted to smoke billowing from the factory at 3.00am on October 23.

Fortunately, all staff were evacuated efficiently according to procedure before firemen arrived on the scene and there were no reports of any injuries.

“The factory was heavily smoke-logged,” a spokesman for Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service told FoodManufacture.co.uk. As a consequence, crews deployed breathing apparatus, he said.

12 fire engines

A total of 12 fire engines and other appliances were scrambled to tackle the inferno, using foam jets to help tame it.

PepsiCo said its nearby distribution centre and Bursom factory in Leicester, close to the Leycroft Road plant, had pulled together to maintain deliveries of products to customers, including major supermarkets and foodservice outlets.

The Leycroft Road factory supplies Walkers classic flat crisps in traditional flavour ranges such as ready salted and salt & vinegar as well as crisps under its Red Sky and Walkers Extra Crunchy brands.

‘Working around the clock’

“We’ve been working around the clock to put our contingency plans into place since the fire at Leycroft Road," ​said PepsiCo in a statement.

“At the same time our other production site and distribution centre in Leicester has been operating as normal, as have all of our other Walkers sites across the UK. And thanks to our team’s hard work Leycroft Road is back up and running again.”

The fire service spokesman said: “Once the fire was believed to be extinguished, the building was ventilated and fire investigators were called in to assess the scene.

‘Mechanical fault’

“The site was inspected at 1945 hours and the incident was closed. Fire investigators subsequently discovered that the fire started accidentally because of a mechanical fault in the deep fat fryer.”

In April 2012, PepsiCo announced an investment of £15.2M in production at the Leycroft Road plant.

Walkers Crisps brands include Sensations, Lights and Sunbites.

Related topics Bakery

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