UPDATE: Bideford furniture factory fire

Joseph Bulmer

Firefighters from across the region work into the night to tackle silo blaze

FIREFIGHTERS from across the region were still at the Devonshire Pine factory on the Caddsdown Industrial Estate in Bideford into the evening yesterday (Thursday), having been there all day, dealing with a fire in a silo of wood shavings.

Initially called out at 10 am, they were there for the next 10 hours, removing and extinguishing smouldering shavings from the silo and ensuring that fire did not spread through pipework to the main factory building.

Four appliances from Bideford, Appledore and Torrington and an aerial platform from Barnstaple were initially involved and late in the afternoon these were replaced by relief crews from Hartland, Witheridge, South Molton and North Tawton.

Jeff Harding, Station Manager of the Barnstaple Group, said crews wearing breathing apparatus had worked very hard to remove the shavings from the half-full silo after having had to use an angle grinder to cut an access hatch. A compressed air foam system was also used to suppress the fire.

The main concern was that the fire might spread through pipework to the main building and this all had to be checked out. They had been helped greatly in their work by the factory’s maintenance team.

Although fire investigations had not been completed, it was possible that the outbreak had been caused by spontaneous combustion, he said.

The factory was on holiday close down at the time of the incident.