Businesses speak of fire drama at Westbury site

Wiltshire Times: Westbury firefighters sift through the damage at The Paper Bag Company Westbury firefighters sift through the damage at The Paper Bag Company

A fire that destroyed the contents of a storage facility in Westbury used by The Paper Bag Company has caused major smoke and water damage to units owned by neighbouring businesses.

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the Oakfield Business Centre in Stephenson Road, Northacre Industrial Park, at 8.51pm, where they found a unit used to store paper bags alight.

As well as destroying the contents of The Paper Bag Company’s unit, the fire cause damage to the units owned by Aston Motorsports and Prosec Consultancy.

Josh Dowd, who works at Aston Motorsports, said: “We got to the site about an hour after it started and all the fire engines were already here trying to put out the fire next door.

“The fire burnt the top of the unit and the roof is completely knackered. The whole building needs redoing and the cars will need valeting. We will probably have to move premises while it’s being sorted.

“There is a lot of smoke and water damage. They had to use a lot of water to put the fire out and the smoke filled up the whole yard. It was a room full of paper, so it wasn’t going to stop quickly.

“Somebody working late at The Paper Bag Company raised the alarm and let us know about it. We are lucky as it could have been worse, especially if it spread to Avon Auto Colours next to us.”

At the height of the blaze, there were six fire crews fighting the fire, including one from Westbury, two from Trowbridge, two from Warminster and on from Bradford on Avon.

They were supported by the incident command vehicle from Devizes, the aerial appliance from Salisbury and an operational support unit, also from Salisbury.

By 12.30am today, the attendance had been dropped to four fire engines – from Mere, Chippenham, Corsham and Marlborough – and this was further reduced to a one pump watching brief.

Andy Lister, director of Prosec Consultancy, a security, surveillance and training specialist, said: “We are gutted, but there’s not much we can do at the moment until we hear from our insurance company.”

A crew from Westbury was back on site at 9am today to ensure there were no hot spots that can flare up, and a mechanical digger will be used to drag out the contents and turn them over.

A fire investigation is continuing into the cause of the blaze.

The Paper Bag Company has confimed that it is still open for business. For more information, visit www.paperbagco.co.uk

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