Blast rocks Fox's

Issue 513

SIX people were rushed to hospital after a diesel storage tank exploded at the Fox’s Biscuits factory in Batley.
The blast, at around 10.45am on Wednesday, happened as the tank was being drained and cleaned in a goods yard behind the Wellington Street plant.
One man, thought to have been dismantling the tank, suffered burns to his legs and was taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield for treatment.
Five others were treated at Dewsbury District Hospital for smoke inhalation. Production at the plant was halted and 450 staff evacuated.
Firefighters from Dewsbury, Mirfield, Cleckheaton, Ossett and Brighouse attended.
The blaze was out in minutes but they remained on site for several hours to cool the tank.
Employees were allowed to return to work at around 3pm.
Health and Safety Executive officials have launched a full investigation and are working with Fox's and the contractors who were maintaining the tank.
A spokesman for Fox's parent company, the 2 Sisters Food Group, said a spark may have ignited the storage tank.
He added: “The individual's burns are not believed to be lifethreatening. He is in hospital receiving treatment and is sitting up and talking.
“The response to this incident from colleagues on site was excellent. The evacuation was done quickly and orderly.
“All of our emergency procedures were followed. The incident management and evacuation was praised by the chief fire officer at the scene.”
Union steward Helena England, who works on the production floor, added to the ‘calm in a crisis’ picture that emerged.
She said: “It was very well coordinated. They had someone keeping in touch with everybody. Everyone knew where they were supposed to go.
“Obviously, because we have gas coming into the factory we had to make sure everything had cooled down before we could be let back in.”

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