Heinz at Westwick to get award for response to devastating fire

A north Norfolk factory will on Thursday receive an award for its 'amazing' response when a devastating fire broke out earlier this year.

Heinz at Westwick will get Norfolk Fire Service's recognition award for its contingency plans, which a senior fire officer said had saved lives and enabled the blaze-torn plant to re-open in 19 days.

The work will be rewarded at the annual Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Awards at Dunston Hall, near Norwich.

Sixteen fire engines were called to May's Heinz fire in an industrial fat fryer unit with relief crews taking over through the night and into the following day.

Fire service group manager Richard Herrell said: 'Heinz clearly had plans on how they would deal with a major incident and this allowed them to not only ensure their people were safe but also get the plant back in production in 19 days. This was an amazing achievement and shows that planning works ahead of a serious event to a business.'

Factory manager Simon Taylor said: 'Without the professionalism, bravery and commitment of the firefighters and crew who attended our site so soon after the alarm was raised, our ability to restart production in under three weeks would simply have not been possible.'

Reepham fire crew will get the chief fire officer's certificate of commendation.

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In January the crew was called to a car fire. At the scene the crew realised that a man was in the car. Within four minutes the man was rescued and the fire was out. For the next 30 minutes the firefighters provided crucial life support, initially on their own and then alongside paramedics.

Station manager Phil Berry, who nominated Reepham, said: 'It is testimony to the training and professionalism of the crew that faced with a sudden critical situation they managed to not only rescue the man but stabilise his condition. I am in no doubt the actions of the Reepham crew saved this man's life.'

Heinz is giving �999 in sponsorship for the awards evening in recognition of the work done by the fire and rescue service at Westwick in May.

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