Morrisons’ Rathbones Bakery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has officially reopened following a major fire two years ago.
Fire broke out at the factory on 3 July 2016 near a pitta production line that had only recently been installed.
As many as 15 fire engines were required to put out the flames and the Stephenson Way bakery was forced to close for 70 hours before resuming operations across its five production lines unaffected by the blaze.
Rathbone’s dry goods store, warehouse and pitta production line were devastated by the flames.
“We were making pitta bread for Morrisons, so the category buying team found an alternative source [during that time],” explained Rathbones operations head James Cawthorne.
“The pitta line was new and we were going to install crumpet equipment when the fire broke out. We were lucky enough to save that kit and put it in storage.”
The salvaged kit is now operational at the site and producing around 200,000 pittas a day and 160,000 crumpets in a 12-hour shift
“The rebuild process took until January this year,” Cawthorne explained.
The Mayor of Wakefield and Morrisons CEO David Potts have unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the reopening of the site (pictured below).
Going forward, the bakery now plans to reinvest and replace ageing kit.
“We’re very lucky our business sees the bakery as a place that’s good to invest in as we can then deliver our customers excellent quality products,” said Cawthorne.