Print works blaze cause still a mystery

FIRE investigators say it is too early to identify what caused a major Christmas Day blaze at a printing works.A joint fire and police investigation has been launched after more than 70 firefighters battled the fire in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, and managed to avert a pollution crisis.

FIRE investigators say it is too early to identify what caused a major Christmas Day blaze at a printing works.

A joint fire and police investigation has been launched after more than 70 firefighters battled the fire in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, and managed to avert a pollution crisis.

A clean-up operation at printing firm Cromex is underway as fire chiefs begin attempting to establish the cause of the blaze.

Crews from Suffolk and Norfolk, who worked through the night, were praised for managing to contain the fire to the factory's administration area and away from hazardous containers close by.

Assistant Divisional Officer Karl Rolfe, who is part of the fire investigation team, said: “We have begun looking at the potential cause of the fire alongside scenes of crime officers from Suffolk police.

“This is something we would generally do and it is too early to say what the possible cause might be.

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“We are eliminating potential reasons one-by-one but it will be a lengthy investigation but the building is structurally unsound meaning there are certain parts we cannot access.”

A quarter of the two-storey premises, on the Shepherd's Grove industrial estate, went up in smoke at about 8.45pm on Christmas Day.

Firefighters from Elmswell, Bury, Haverhill, Newmarket and four from Norfolk were called, but were initially hampered by a lack of water in the local area.

A water carrier from Newmarket was ordered and, more than ten hours after the initial call, crews still remained on scene, damping down and putting out remaining hot spots.

Investigators spent a large part of yesterday scanning the premises as they launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

ADO Rolfe added: “When the first crew arrived, we found a well-developed fire and consequently it took a number of crews to bring the blaze under control.

“Because of the nature of work which goes on here, our main concern was the number of hazardous containers and gases in the factory so crews worked hard to confine the fire to the administration area.

“If the fire had been allowed to spread to other parts of the factory, we could have been dealing with a hazardous material incident as well as a fire. Fortunately, the crews managed to confine the fire and they deserve praise for their hard work in negating such a threat.”

No-one from Cromex was available for comment last night.

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