Firefighters in discussion outside Roberts Bakery in Northwich as smoke lingers after a fire broke out on 5 June

Source: Emma Thistleton

Firefighters in discussion outside Roberts Bakery in Northwich on 5 June as smoke lingers after a major fire broke out

Talks are underway between Frank Roberts & Sons and its customers to minimise the supply impact of a recent fire at the firm’s Northwich bakery site.

A total of 12 fire crews from Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service were called out to tackle the blaze at the Gadbrook Park industrial estate, which broke out at around 11am on 5 June. The fire affected two manufacturing plants producing branded and non-branded lines.

Firefighters stayed overnight to conduct further checks with a thermal imaging camera, with an incident report at 1:20pm the following day confirming the fire had finally been fully extinguished.

The company told British Baker that a full clean-up operation was currently underway alongside an investigation into the exact cause of the fire. It added that the damage would be assessed in more detail and, once the clean-up was complete, it could work out when the plants could be reopened. 

“We have other production sites – one bread plant at Northwich and one for morning goods in Ilkeston in Derbyshire and a biscuit bakery also in Northwich – which have not been impacted by the fire, so production has continued as normal there,” a spokesperson said. ”We are looking at ways of maximising capacity at these sites to cover demand in the short-term.”

The firm is currently “working on a supply plan based on multiple customer needs across the Roberts brand and non-branded business to minimise impact and are in discussions with customers proactively”, the spokesperson added.

Since it was founded 130 years ago, Frank Roberts & Sons has grown to employ more than 750 people across its two sites with annual sales topping £90m. It supplies products under its Roberts Bakery and Little Treats brands, as well as own label lines, to retail, food-to-go, and foodservice customers.