Food packaging factory ‘lost’ to ‘huge fire’

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Firefighters battled the blaze at Total Polyfilm in the early hours of this morning.
Firefighters battled the blaze at Total Polyfilm in the early hours of this morning.

Related tags Lancashire

A “huge” fire has caused “the loss” of a food packaging factory in Bamber Bridge, according to Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service.

Up to 30 staff were evacuated from Total Polyfilm’s factory, after a small fire was stoked by stored fuel supplies early this morning (May 11).

The blaze, which started before 3am, was attended by up to 60 firefighters, equipped with 10 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms to combat the flames.

Firefighters took six hours to put out the fire and were remaining on site to damp down the scene and to investigate its cause.

‘Escalated very quickly’

Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service area manager Simon Fryer said: “First crews arrived when the fire was quite small and developing, however due to the fuel that was inside the building it escalated very, very quickly.

“Due to the nature of the production process in the building, there are large quantities of fuel that took a little bit of extinguishing, but it is definitely under control.”

Incident commander Jerry Cragg said the blaze could have become even more damaging. “Had it managed to spread to those silos and a taller building next door, we would have had another huge fire to deal with,”​ he said.

‘Lost one factory’

“We have lost one factory and the last thing we want is for other businesses to be badly affected.”

Local residents were advised to keep their windows and doors shut, as a protection against smoke.

Total Polyfilm makes polythene film products for use in food and beverage packing, warehousing and agriculture. It produces more than 50,000t of plain and printed products each year.

The company also operates factories in Brighouse, West Yorkshire and Preston, Lancashire.

Established in 2007, the business had annual turnover of £47.03M in the 2014 financial year.

Meanwhile, last week another food and drink packaging company suffered a serious fire. A blaze at Huhtamaki’s factory in Gosport, Hampshire on May 5 was traced to an electrical roof fan​.

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