A fire has torn through lorry trailers at a domestic appliance factory in Peterborough, sending large clouds of thick black smoke over the city. About 50 firefighters are working to bring the blaze under control at the Whirlpool UK headquarters in Shrewsbury Avenue, with up to 40 trailers affected.
Witnesses used social media to report hearing explosions as billowing clouds of dark smoke were visible for miles. There are no reported casualties, and residents had been warned to keep their doors and windows closed.
Amy Price said: “I heard multiple explosions and several car alarms going off. As soon as I got outside, I could see the thick acrid smoke with ash falling nearby … the smell was just disgusting. There were continuous streams of ambulances, fire appliances, investigation units and incident support units.”
The site is the UK head office of Whirlpool, a household appliance company which owns brands such as Hotpoint and makes tumble dryers and washing machines.
A Whirlpool spokesman said: “Most importantly, we can confirm that nobody has been injured in this incident and none of the buildings on our site have been affected.
“A fire broke out at approximately 6.45pm on Thursday in an area of our Peterborough headquarters where heavy goods vehicle trailers are parked. These trailers contained spare parts and the blaze spread to approximately 30 of them.
“The fire is now under control and investigations by the police into the cause are ongoing. Operations will resume as normal on site tomorrow. We would like to offer our most sincere thanks to the emergency services for all their assistance in tackling this incident. We also apologise to people living and working in the area for any disruption caused.”
Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service group commander Karl Bowden said: “We’ve got approximately 40 lorry trailers on fire. These lorry trailers are full of parts for washing machines and fridges. There is no risk to the public outside of this immediate area. We are on top of it, we are controlling the fire, and we hope to have it under control and extinguished within the next few hours.”
The fire service posted images showing a number of trailers completely gutted by fire at 9pm, about two hours after they were called to the incident.
Peterborough police asked people to stay clear of the area and said temporary road closures were in place around the area. They added: “It is expected emergency services will be working late into the night to tackle the blaze.”