Fire fighters battle factory blaze after blast

Fire fighters are battling to contain a huge blaze sparked by an explosion at an industrial estate today.







The fire broke out at 1pm after an explosion at Stiller's toiletries factory at the Aycliffe Industrial Estate in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, police said.



A large police cordon has been set up surrounding the burning building and local schools have been advised to keep children indoors until the blaze is under control.



A Durham Police spokesman said: "Just after 1pm this afternoon there were reports of an explosion followed by a large fire at Stiller's factory, which makes toiletries.



"Fire crews are at the scene and a large police cordon is being placed around the scene.



"We are not aware of any casualties at this time.



"The current advice to residents and others in the immediate vicinity is to stay indoors, close all doors and windows and monitor local radio.



"Officers are contacting local schools to advise them to keep children indoors at this time. The schools will be advised when this position changes.



"We have no information as to the cause of the fire at this time."







The fire is being treated as a major emergency incident, Durham Police said.



The factory has been evacuated and people are leaving the area for their own safety.



"There are road closures in place around the site of the fire but main roads have not been affected," the police spokesman said.



"People are advised that there is a major emergency response to this incident so the roads surrounding Aycliffe Industrial Estate will be busy.



"People are asked to keep clear of the area until the incident is contained."



Investigators have begun work to determine the cause of the fire, he said.



Between 40 and 50 firefighters from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service have been sent to tackle the blaze.



They are using a high ladder platform to fight the flames from the air, and ten fire engines are on the ground.



The smoke from the burning factory can be seen from five miles away.



A fire service spokesman said Newton Aycliffe residents heard a loud explosion before seeing the flames erupt.



He said: "People heard the bang before they saw the flames.



"We are not aware of any casualties yet but we have not had much information from on the ground; people are too busy fighting the fire.



"There is a lot of smoke and it can be seen from some distance away.



"We're telling people to stay in doors for the moment, because of the smoke, but this is standard practice when there's an incident of this kind at a factory. We are not aware of any toxicity."

The smoke plume from the fire is heading towards Darlington but is not believed to be toxic and is not causing any problems for traffic, police said.



Fire service experts said there was no risk of a second explosion, and have told schools it will be safe to allow children to leave at the normal time.



Assistant Chief Constable Michael Banks said: "This is a major incident and we are working with our colleagues in the fire and rescue service, civil contingencies unit, local authority, health and safety executive and other agencies to bring the fire under control and restore normality as soon as possible.



"Fortunately there are no reports of any casualties at this time.



"I'd like to thank local people for their patience and co-operation as we work to contain this situation."



He said it was too early to say whether or not the cause of the fire was suspicious.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions