Evacuation after blaze sparks explosion fears

nrhn 300611 The vacinity of Lift and Shift scrap yard had to be evacuated as fire crews were informed of a possible highly flammable tank among flames there.
nrhn 300611 The vacinity of Lift and Shift scrap yard had to be evacuated as fire crews were informed of a possible highly flammable tank among flames there.

A BLAZE at a Langley Mill scrapyard forced the evacuation of 30 homes after fire crews feared a gas cylinder explosion.

The fire began when a stray spark from a welding iron accidentally ignited the carpet in a scrapped car at Lift ‘n’ Shift on Hall Road on Monday morning and spread.

When fire crews arrived shortly after 10am they were informed that a highly flammable tank of a acetylene gas could be among the flames – prompting the service to order an evacuation of the vicinity.

In total 30 homes and businesses neighbouring the industrial estate were moved to safety by emergency services, while a fire crew used cooling jets to dampen eight gas cylinders which were among the flames.

Derbyshire County Council’s emergency planning unit also set up a rest centre for the evacuated persons.

After no dangerous tanks were discovered and the fire dampened, the order was given for residents to return home shortly after 1pm.

Owner of the recycling centre Paul Knight said the evacuation was a precautionary measure.

He added: “We’ve never had any accidents in the four years we’ve been open, this is unfortunately just one of those things.”

Nobody was hurt in the incident and the business has resumed trading.

Cromford Road resident, Ernie Langford, 67, was returning home when he was stopped by a police cordon 100 yards away from his front door.

He said: “When I came down the road all I saw was black smoke going up in the air and a lot of people down here, the police wouldn’t let me back in.

“I was worried because my dogs were still inside.”