Fire at former asbestos factory

Date published: 15 February 2013

More than 50 firefighters have spent the night battling a difficult blaze at a former asbestos factory but now have it under control.

Local road closures remain in place and the local water supply has been affected.

Residents were advised to close doors and windows as a precaution due to the sheer amount of smoke the fire was creating but this is now restricted to those living in the immediate vicinity of Fallowfield Drive.

Crews were called to the former Turner and Newall mill in Spodden Valley just after 2.45am on Friday, February 15, and found the building well alight.

Firefighters faced difficulties getting close enough to the building to start tackling the fire as access is cut off to the disused site by road blocks.

The fire had engulfed all the floors of the three-storey building and firefighters spent hours battling to bring the fire under control.

As well as firefighters who are working to put the fire out, specialist officers – such as hazardous materials officers – are there to help ensure the safety of those working at the site, those living nearby and the environment.

Station Manager Paul Etches said: “We’re working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible and we asked residents living close to the site can help us protect them by keeping doors and windows closed.

“The fire is now under control and we’ve been working with the local authority and health agencies and the advice remains the same but is limited only to those in the immediate vicinity of Fallowfield Drive.

“There should be minimal disruption to residents schools and businesses but crews will remain on the scene throughout the day damping down.”

Crews from Rochdale, Littleborough, Heywood & Bury Fire Stations attended the scene as well as specialist appliances and support crews from Philips Park, Hyde and Stalybridge and an aerial appliance from Oldham.

Simon Danczuk MP said: “Local people, campaigners and experts have been saying for years that this site is unsafe and their fears have been fully justified.

“What’s important now is that specialist air testing is carried out as quickly as possible in order to give local people the facts. This should be led through a swift multi-agency response bringing together the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and other groups that have been involved in raising issues about this site for the last eight years.

“There must be no cover up regarding this site and local people’s safety has to be paramount.”

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