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‘Never seen a fire like it’ – 13 engines tackle huge blaze involving hazardous materials

PUBLISHED: 15:47 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:56 14 August 2020

Thirteen crews have been sent to the scene Picture: SIMON CUSWORTH

Thirteen crews have been sent to the scene Picture: SIMON CUSWORTH

Archant

Firefighters are at the scene of a blaze involving hazardous materials at a fibreglass moulding site in Parham, where a witness reported seeing a “couple of explosions”.

Emergency services were called to the fire in Parham on Thursday morning Picture:CHRIS EDGEEmergency services were called to the fire in Parham on Thursday morning Picture:CHRIS EDGE

Thirteen crews from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of the fire in Silverlace Green, Parham at 9.43am

Currently 50 firefighters are tackling a large blaze which is in a single storey building measuring around 50m x 80m.

The building is used in the production of fibreglass moulding.

Crews are now said to be making good progress on the fire with police also on scene and having closed nearby roads.

Residents in nearby Parham reported hearing an explosion Picture: JAMES MANNALLResidents in nearby Parham reported hearing an explosion Picture: JAMES MANNALL

People are asked to avoid driving in the Parham area, which is between Framlingham to the west and Stratford St Andrew to the east.

Due to the volume of smoke coming from the incident, all local residents and businesses are asked to keep doors and windows closed.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said that due to the age of the building there are concerns that asbestos could be present.

All persons have been accounted for and there are currently no casualties, though the East of England Ambulance service are on scene.

The damaged buildings belonging to the fibreglass moulding company Picture: ADAM THORPEThe damaged buildings belonging to the fibreglass moulding company Picture: ADAM THORPE

All agencies are working closely together to ensure the public’s safety.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “We were called at 9.55am to reports of a fire at Parham airfield.

“Officers are in attendance and are assisting the fire service. There are road closures in place at the junction of New Road and Hall Road.”

One witness said that she heard involved some explosions in the early moments of the fire.

Robert Chapman captured this picture of the incident, which has seen several fire engines called to Parham airfield Picture: ROBERT CHAPMANRobert Chapman captured this picture of the incident, which has seen several fire engines called to Parham airfield Picture: ROBERT CHAPMAN

She said: “I have never seen a fire like it.

“By the time I happened to be passing, just after 10am, the fire was absolutely blazing through the roof of what looked like an original Second World War building. It looked like it had an asbestos roof and was very close to the control tower museum.

“There were two massive explosions and in one a flaming barrel flew high into the air.

“Someone from a nearby farm said there were apparently a large amount of resin stored in the building.”

Fire crews on the scene in Parham Picture: SIMON CUSWORTHFire crews on the scene in Parham Picture: SIMON CUSWORTH

Another witness, who was driving through the area at the time said that the blaze could be seen over three miles away in the neighbouring village of Cransford, whilst sight of the smoke has been reported as far away as Worlingworth.

Local resident Andy Nicholson was out walking his dogs when he spotted the fire.

“I saw a huge plume of black smoke,” said Mr Nicholson.

“I thought they had stubble burning. As we got nearer to it I realised it was coming from a much smaller area.”

Smoke pours over fire crews in Parham Picture: ADAM THORPESmoke pours over fire crews in Parham Picture: ADAM THORPE

Mr Nicholson said that stubble had been burnt in the area before but it was nothing compared to what he saw come from the air field.

Robert Howell, was nearby at the time.

“About 45 minutes before hearing the sirens of the emergency vehicles in Framlingham I heard a deep bang like distant thunder or a supersonic boom,” said Mr Howell.

“I assumed it was the thunderstorm over towards Cambridge.”

Drone images show the level of damage caused to the site Picture: STEVEN SUTTONDrone images show the level of damage caused to the site Picture: STEVEN SUTTON

John Brassey said: “We just heard a loud explosion.

“Shortly afterwards there were a number of further smaller explosions. These went on for a few minutes.”

Parham Parish Council chairman Mike Gray said: “It’s a quiet place. It’s not something you expect to happen there.

“Fortunately the smoke was blowing away from most inhabitants.”

Crews have been sent from Woodbridge, Princes Street, Holbrook, Framlingham, Orford, Aldeburgh, Leiston, Stradbroke, Stowmarket and Haverhill.

Stay with us for more on this breaking news story and send any photos of the scene here


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