Major fire at Norfolk factory

More than 90 firefighters were tonight (Friday) at the scene of a major blaze at a Norfolk factory.

Crews were called to Heinz Frozen and Chilled Foods at Station Road, Westwick, just after 6.15pm where a fire broke out in an industrial fryer.

As of 9.30pm tonight, there were 10 fire pumps at the scene and the aerial ladder was being used to fight the flames.

An estimated 50 to 60 people at the factory were safely evacuated and there were no reports of any casualties, according to Les Britzman, area manager with the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

A wide cordon was established around the factory area but no nearby homes were evacuated, although the road from nearby Worstead was closed by police.

At one stage during the evening thick black smoke was billowing across a wide surrounding area and a grey pall was visible over the adjoining village of Sloley late into the night.

Mr Britzman said: 'It's a significant, deep-seated, but contained and on-going fire in an area which is very difficult to get at.'

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Because of the dangers posed and the risk of the building collapsing, firefighters were unable to enter the area containing the oil fryer and had to spray the building with foam from the outside, using aerial ladders.

Mr Britzman added: 'Locals may be concerned about the smoke but there are no hazardous materials stored on the site. We would advise them however to keep their windows closed.'

Crews at the scene included those from Aylsham, Stalham, Earlham, North Walsham, Norwich, Sprowston, Gorleston and Loddon.

The factory, where around 200 people are employed, is a potato processing factory and products made there include Aunt Bessie's branded Roast Potatoes, Aunt Bessie's branded chips, Wedges, Croquettes and Mid Week Mini Roasties.

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