Fire fighters from the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service were called to Star Meats on the South West Industrial Estate in Peterlee at 6pm yesterday afternoon (16 May).
Local residents reported seeing plumes of smoke pouring from the site from miles around, while workers close to the site claimed to have felt their buildings shake.
The incident was initially reported as a large container, a stack of wood and gas bottles – acetylene cylinders and numerous LPG cylinders – on fire and exploding.
Evacuating the site
About 25 firefighters attended the scene, along with six fire appliances, two water jets, a ground monitor and a drone to monitor the extent of the damage. Local police aided with evacuating people from the site and advised people to avoid the areas if possible.
As of this morning (Friday 17 May), the Fire and Rescue Service presence at the site has been scaled back, with crews making further visits throughout the day to ensure the scene remains under control.
Meanwhile, last month saw firefighters attend incidents at two food and drink factories. Walkers Snack Foods’ in Leicester was visited by the emergency services after a fire broke out in an oven, while a blaze at a gin distillery in North Yorkshire was attended by fire crews.