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Alliance Paper and Tissue premises burns down
Large quantities of paper were still burning under controlled conditions and under the watchful eye of 25 fire services crew last Thursday night, at the scene of the fire which started late the previous night at the old Alliance Paper and Tissue premises in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton.
At its height, more than 100 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze in the building, which although was no longer in physical use, still contained stocks of toilet tissue and chemicals.
Area commander Steve Taylor of West Midlands Fire Service described the fire as "intense". It involved the entire factory and its stores of paper, plus a significant volume of stored chemicals.
"Once the scale of the incident was clear, we very quickly increased our resources at the scene to bring it safely under control," he said. "Our crews faced significant challenges, including a damaged gas main which was burning in two places inside the affected building.
"The sheer size of the site was also a key consideration in our operations, as well as the need to protect a neighbouring aerospace company which was just 10 metres away.
"We worked very closely throughout the night with representatives of the neighbouring firm and our partner agencies including the gas and electricity companies.
"Fortunately, the wind direction was in our favour, but we had contingency plans and resources in place in case the weather conditions changed and there was a more direct threat to the aerospace site. I'm pleased to say it was able to open and operate when staff arrived early this morning".
As well as 20 fire engines and 100 firefighters, West Midlands Fire Service sent two hydraulic aerial platforms to the scene plus a high-volume water pumping unit which was used at times to bring in water from a nearby canal. A mobile Incident Command Unit was also deployed.
"As well as the safety of our crews and protecting the neighbouring site, our priorities included limiting the effects on the environment added Area commander Taylor.
"The paper was allowed to burn under control, to minimise the amount of water used and the potential spread of chemicals stored on the site. We also ensured that the nearby road was reopened in time for the morning rush hour."
The cause of the fire has yet to be established.
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2nd February 2017