Explosion in a Bosley wood mill

Date/Time:
17/07/2015 - 09:11

Address:
Tunstall Road, Bosley

Attendance:
23 fire engines - 12 from Cheshire, 9 from Greater Manchester, 1 from Derbyshire and 1 from Staffordshire. There are also 2 aerial appliances, the command and control unit, high volume pump, heavy rescue unit and the environmental protection unit in attendance.

Details

Just after 9am on Friday 17th July the Service was called to a report of an explosion at a wood mill in Bosley.

Update at 10:30

There are 15 fire engines at the scene dealing with the aftermath of two explosions. It is believed at this stage that four people are trapped.

Update at 10:57

The incident involves the collapse of a four storey building. There is a fully developed fire in several areas.

Firefighters are facing a dangerous situation as they cannot rule out further explosions.

People are advised to avoid the area.

Further updates will be issued as more information becomes available.

Update at 11:40

Fire crews continue to tackle the fire. The Ambulance Service have confirmed that two people have been taken to hospital. 15 fire engines remain at the scene. Three Urban Search and Rescue Teams have also been called to assist with the rescue efforts.

Update 12:50

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus continue to fight the fire with water jets. Four people remain missing and so search and rescue efforts are continuing. People in the area are reminded to keep their doors and windows shut as there is a lot of smoke in the area.

Video footage of firefighters at the incident in Bosley (new window, Movie 6457KB)

Video footage from the scene of an explosion and fire in Bosley  (new window, Movie 6111KB)

Update 15:00

Fire crews and other emergency services continue to work tirelessly to deal with the incident at Wood Flour Mills.

Confirmation has been recieved that there were 35 people who have been directly affected by the incident. Four have been treated at the scene for breathing difficulties and a further four have been taken to hospital for treatment – one of those is in a serious condition.

A further four people remain unaccounted for. A safety cordon has been set up around the scene and nearby Bollin Mill Road has been shut.

It is likely that fire crews will remain at the scene for some time.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock, said: “This is a difficult and demanding incident. There are a number of hazards that make it particularly dangerous for those attempting to tackle the blaze. However, crews and our colleagues from the other emergency services continue to work tirelessly to both bring the fire under control and find the four that are missing. We urge everyone in the area to keep their windows and doors shut as there continues to be a lot of smoke in the area.”

Update 18:00

There remains a large multi-agency team at the scene. It looks likely that our fire crews will need to remain there over the weekend.
The four people remain missing. Firefighters are working tirelessly to ensure that search and rescue teams can safely access the site.

Update 22:00

Firefighters are still using water to tackle the fire and thermal imaging cameras are being used to target the hotspots of fire.

Update 07:30 on 18th July

Firefighters are continuing to use water to cool silos on the site.

They are assessing temperatures using thermal image cameras.

Specialist urban search and rescue teams have started initial assessments of the scene.

Update 08:00 on 18th July

Cheshire's search dog Bryn and his handler have started initial work on part of the site with other search dogs en route to the site. Specialist equipment is being organised to move two vehicles near the factory which were badly damaged in the fire to improve access to the factory.

Cheshire East Council have set up a helpline on 0300 123 5034 for anyone who has concerns or queries regarding this incident.

Update 12:25 on 18th July

The search and rescue efforts are continuing and will continue throughout the afternoon.

The aerial pictures (on the right) highlight the scene which the teams are dealing with.

Update 21:00 on 18th July

The urban search and rescue teams will continue working in co-ordination with colleagues from the Health and Safety Executive and the police while daylight remains and then resume at daybreak.

Fire crews are continuing to cool nearby silos and damp down pockets of fire to help with the search and rescue efforts.

Demolition and heavy lifting gear are on site and being used to help in clearing the search area.

In addition, crews having been using inflatable booms in an attempt to limit environmental damage to the nearby river

Update 10am on 19th July

Fire crews still have eight ground monitors in place cooling large and small silos. 

Two high volume pumps are providing water.

Specialist heavy lifting gear is being used to clear a pathway to help the rescue teams to access the centre of the site.

Update 6pm on 19th July

Fire crews are continuing to cool the silos and damp down pockets of fire. The specialist urban search and rescue teams are working alongside contractors with heavy lifting gear to clear steelwork and debris from the search area.

The work is complex and is being co-ordinated in conjunction with teams from the Health and Safety Executive and Cheshire Constabulary.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is expecting to have crews on site for several days.

Update 08:30 a on 20th July

The co-ordinated search is continuing but last night a body was found in one of the two key areas where the teams have been concentrating their efforts.

The discovery was confirmed by Cheshire Police after the four families who are awaiting news had been told and HM Coroner informed. The body has not been positively identified.

The thoughts of the Service and all agencies are with the families at this time as the search continues.

Update 09:50 on 20th July

We still have six fire engines on site, with three fire crews in each of the two sectors of the site.

Two hydraulic platforms are being used on the site.

Two high volume pumps are providing water, so that firefighters can continue to cool the site.


 

Update 11:20 on 20th July

Video footage of firefighters and search and rescue teams at the incident in Bosley over the weekend (new window, Movie 17893KB)

A number of photos have been added to our Flickr page - Explosion in a Bosley Woodmill (opens in new window)

Update 14:45 on 20th July

The search and rescue teams are continuing their search and firefighters continue to cool the site.

Extra heavy lifting equipment has been delivered to the site to help to remove debris and to clear the way for the search and rescue teams.

The latest photo from the scene can be found on the right.

Video footage of firefighters and search and rescue teams at the incident in Bosley (new window, Movie 6812KB)

Update 6pm on 20th July

Efforts are continuing to search for the three missing people. Rescue eforts are currently focusing on one specific area of the site.

Paul Hancock, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “We continue to work closely with our colleagues from the police and ambulance service, as well as specialist teams to try and locate the three missing people. We remain hopeful that a rescue can still take place. However, as the time passes we know that realistically this operation will move to a search and recovery phase.

“The scene remains that of total devastation and so crews are facing some big, big challenges but they are working extremely hard to painstakingly search through the debris and progress is being made.

“Sadly, last night a body was found. At this point rescue operations paused as a mark of respect. This incident has touched all involved deeply and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those caught up in this terrible event.”

Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for UK Government, Peter Holland CBE, visited the site to witness the devastation.  He said: "This is a very testing incident from many perspectives. I am very impressed with how firefighters have dealt with the explosion and fire. They have also carried out outstanding environmental protection to remove fire and chemical pollutants from the adjacent river. My thoughts go out to all involved."

Update 12:40 on 21st July

Sadly it has been confirmed that a second body has been found at the scene. No formal identification has taken place.

Efforts continue to locate those unaccounted for. A joint investigation is under way between police, fire and the Health and Safety Executive to establish the cause of the incident.

All of our thoughts are with the families and friends of those caught up in this terrible incident.

Update 14:00 on 21st July

The search and rescue teams are continuing their search and firefighters continue to cool the site.

Video footage of firefighters and search and rescue teams at the incident in Bosley (new window, Movie 10750KB)

Update 16:30 on 21st July

Fire and rescue crews continue to work alongside colleagues in the police and Health and Safety Executive at the scene of the Bosley explosion.

Fire and rescue crews continue to work alongside Paul Hancock, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer said: “Firefighters are now working within a collapsed structure on the site, which is presenting an even more challenging set of circumstances. Conditions are dark, humid and smoky but the crews remain absolutely determined to find the missing two people.

“They have worked non-stop since this incident began and are relentless in their task to continue the search. We have already removed 100 of tonnes of steel, rubble and debris but there is much more to do.  Our deepest sympathy remains with the families affected throughout this difficult time.”

Update 12:45 on 22nd July

Emergency services continue to work tirelessly at the scene of the Bosley mill tragedy.

As part of the ongoing search it has been decided to remove three silos at the site this afternoon. This is because they are unstable and need to be removed to enable a safe search to continue.

The removal of the silos will be carried out in a controlled environment. However, the procedure is expected to generate a significant amount of dust and noise.

Residents and businesses in the local area are advised not to be alarmed by the noise and dust from the site but to keep all windows and doors shut this afternoon.

During the removal process the search and rescue operation at the site will be paused and for health and safety reasons those working at the site will be move to another location.

It is essential that the removal of the silos takes place to allow the emergency services to continue with the search and recovery process. 

Update 16:45 on 22nd July

The heavy lifting equipment is now on site and preparing to remove the silos.

Update 09:30 on 23rd July

Yesterday three silos were removed from the Bosley Mill site, which has allowed the search and recovery operation to continue at a section of the site indicated previously by search dogs.

Sadly, this led to the discovery of a third body.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cheshire Constabulary and partner organisations have been doing all they can to aid the search and rescue operation and efforts continue to locate those unaccounted for.

Update 16:30 on 23rd July

The search and rescue teams are continuing their search and firefighters continue to cool the site.

Video footage from Cheshire Police of the removal of the silos (opens in new window) 

Update 11:50 on 24th July

After the removal of three silos, search and rescue teams continue their search and firefighters are continuing to cool the site.

Video footage of from the incident in Bosley - taken 23rd July   (new window, Movie 15565KB)

Update 10:15 on 27th July

The search is continuing. An Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) has now come down from West Yorkshire to replace the crews from Lancashire who have been at the scene since the incident began. Merseyside USAR, who have also been at the incident for more than a week are still on site and are working alongside their West Yorkshire colleagues.

Update 16:00 on 28th July

The search and rescue teams are continuing their search, while firefighters continue to cool the silos. 

Options to fully extinguish the remaining pockets of fire are being planned.

Update 09:20 on 30th July

The search and rescue teams are continuing their search of the site today.  Firefighters are continuing to cool the silos.

Update 11:00 on 31st July

Two weeks on from the disaster crews continue to work around the clock searching for the missing and dealing with the fire in the wood flour container.

The outer cordon around the site has now been reduced.  This has allowed Bosley Methodist Church to reopen.  The church will be open between Friday 31st July and 8th August between 2pm to 8pm for anyone who wants to visit, place flowers, light a candle or leave a message or prayer on the tree of peace.  The church will be open for worship on Sunday 2nd August at 11am and again on the 9th August.

Update 17:50 on 31st July

Work is continuing to cool and extinguish the fire in a large storage cylinder at the mill site. The cylinder, which contains wood flour, has been burning since the incident began two weeks ago.


Putting the fire out is an extremely difficult and complex task that requires specialist equipment and involves a number of agencies working together. 


Surrey Fire and Rescue Service are currently at the scene with their 42 meter Aerial Ladder Platform. Cheshire’s technical rescue unit are also at the site and are using their expertise to monitor the cylinder’s temperature from a height.

Progress is being made but this procedure is likely to continue throughout the weekend.
Although, the search and rescue operation has paused while this difficult but vital task is undertaken, West Yorkshire’s Urban Search and Rescue Team remain at the scene ready to begin again when it is safe to do so.

The Service would like to thank the Bosley and wider community for the support they have shown to the crews working at the scene.

Update 16:30 on 3rd August

The fire in the main silo appears now to be out. However, crews will continue to monitor it to ensure that further hot-spots or fires do not develop.

Meanwhile, the search teams are continuing their work at the site.

Update 12noon on 10th August

Firefighters continue to deal with the fire in the silo. They have been monitoring it continuously and are concerned that there are still hot-spots within the wood flour. Extinguishing this fire is a difficult and complex task.

Crews plan to remain at the scene until they are confident there is no further risk of a blaze breaking out. 

Update 13:45 on 14th August

Four weeks on, we continue to work with the Police and the Health and Safety Executive at the scene of the explosion in Bosley. 

Fire crews are continuing to monitor the site and cool deep-seated fires inside the Wood Mill silos. 

A systematic search of the site continues as part of the ongoing investigation. The investigation into the cause of the explosion will take many weeks to complete. During this time the scene will remain cordoned off to members of the public and the road that runs through the site will remain closed to allow the investigation to continue.  

Update 16:40 on 20th August

Over the past few days the Service has been working to fully extinguish the long-standing fire in one of the main silos on the site.

After using specialist techniques to reduce and monitor oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in the silo, crews then began working with contractors to safely empty the wood flour out of the storage unit.

Firefighters damped down the smouldering material as it was emptied out of the sile on a conveyor belt. The wood flour was then transported to a nearby field where crews continued to damp down.

The silo is now completely empty and fire crews are leaving the site and formally handing over management of the incident to Cheshire Constabulary.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service are remaining on site to assist the police as they continue their search and investigations.

Video footage of firefighters tackling a fire in a silo (new window, Movie 39693KB)

Photos

For more photos please visit our Flickr page:

Photos on Flickr from the incident - explosion and fire at a Bosley wood mill (opens in new window)

Video

Video footage from the incident in Bosley - taken on 17th July (new window, Movie 6457KB)

Video footage (2) from the incident in Bosley - taken on 17th July (new window, Movie 6111KB)

Video footage from the incident in Bosley - taken on 18th and 19th July (new window, Movie 17893KB)

Video footage from the incident in Bosley - taken on 20th July (new window, Movie 6812KB)

Video footage from the incident in Bosley - taken on 21st July (new window, Movie 10750KB)

Video footage of from the incident in Bosley - taken 23rd July (new window, Movie 15565KB)

Video footage of firefighters tackling a fire in a silo -  taken 19th August 2015 (new window, Movie 39693KB)



Return to latest incidents

Last updated: Friday 21 August 2015