Fire halts production at Warburtons bakery

30 July, 2010

A fire stopped production at Warburtons’ Hereford Street bakery, in Bolton, as 60 firefighters fought to put out the blaze, which is thought to have started in an industrial oven.

Ten fire engines, from stations across Manchester, were called to the bakery at 2.50pm yesterday (Thursday), to deal with the blaze in a production area within the building. One hundred staff were evacuated from the site and there were no reports of any injuries.

A spokesperson for Warburtons told British Baker that the fire was contained to its ChippidyDooDaa snack plant, which suffered damage to around 15-20% of the site. The plant came on line earlier this year, marking Warburtons first entry into the bagged snacks market.

Due to the planned £25m redevelopment of the Hereford Street bakery site, a lot of equipment had already been removed from the bakery. However, one small bread plant was affected to a minimal degree. The spokeperson confirmed that production had stopped while a clean-up operation was carried out, and that it was unclear when production would start again.

She explained that bread deliveries were not affected at all, and that distribution at its Bolton bakery was fully operational with all deliveries sent out this morning. She added that Warburtons wanted to thank both the fireservice and also its own employees, from its sites across the country, who did “a sterling job” to ensure there was no impact on orders today.

Fire investigation officers are currently working with Warburtons to determine exactly how the fire started, but it is thought to have been accidental. Firefighters have been working to make the building safe to allow production to recommence as soon as possible.

As of 7.45am this morning (Friday), two fire crews were still in attendance, damping down at the site.

This is the first time Warburtons has suffered a major fire since January 2004, when a blaze destroyed much of its Wednesbury, West Midlands, bakery, after empty baskets at the back of the building caught fire.

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