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Homes Cleared Due To Factory Blaze

Fire at Factory


About 200 people were evacuated from their homes after a large blaze at a Manchester pallet factory.

Residents were cleared due to concerns that the fire might reach pressurised gas cylinders inside the building. The fears were later confirmed when one cylinder exploded, landing on the roof of a nearby house.

Up to 70 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at the building in Crossley Street, Gorton.

Surrounding roads were closed and local train services diverted after a 984ft exclusion zone was set up.

Two sections of the roof collapsed during the fire, which sent a thick plume of smoke billowing across the area. As a precaution, residents of homes not evacuated were told to stay inside and keep their doors and windows closed.

Two cylinders exploded during the fire-fighting operation, including a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder which sent a 98ft high fireball into the air, the fire service said.

A fire service spokesman said the cylinders had caused problems for fire crews at the scene.

But he added: "Hopefully, we have minimised the risk of any further explosions."

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This major incident followed a work accident. As can be seen form this accident, work processes can not only affect workers but also local residents if things go wrong.

"Any workers or residents affected by this accident at work should seek legal advice as they may be able to claim compensation as a result.

"I represent many people who have been injured or killed following work accidents."

Mr Urpeth represented over 75 workers and many residents who were injured in the 2001 blast at the Killingholme refinery when over 170 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas caught fire. Conoco-Phillips, who owned the plant, was eventually fined £1m for breaching health and safety regulations after the explosion at its Humber refinery.