Firefighters And Workers Hospitalised Following Forgemasters Fire

'Answers Needed' Into Cause Of Blaze

07.04.2011

An investigation has been launched into what caused a fire at Sheffield Forgemasters which left a number of people needing medical treatment.

Chemicals were released and mixed during the blaze at the steel foundry, which started on Monday morning (April 4th), leading many firefighters and workers on the site to suffer from respiratory problems.

According to the local fire authorities, some of the firefighters at the scene who were not wearing breathing apparatus and were caught in a gas cloud.

While some of the firefighters were taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield following the incident, others also attended Rotherham General Hospital.

David Urpeth, who specialises in fires and explosions at work at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said it was vital that answers are provided quickly as to what caused the fire.

He explained: “It is key, for the sake of the workers and firefighters who suffered problems during and after the blaze, that authorities work quickly to deduce what may have caused the fire and led to the release of the hazardous chemicals.

“A particular issue of concern will be whether the appropriate safety standards were in use at the site to reduce the risk of fire and also to prevent workers and others from coming into contact with any dangerous materials.

“In addition, there may be questions raised over why some firefighters were not wearing breathing apparatus when they were hit by the gas cloud.

“Ultimately, it is vital that lessons can be learnt which will hopefully ensure incidents of this kind do not happen again.”

David Urpeth and his team provided support for over 75 workers and residents injured at the Killingholme refinery in 2001. Conoco-Phillips, the owner of the plant, was fined £1 million for breaching safety regulations in relation to the incident.