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Rawdon factory gutted as hundred firefighters battle blaze
6:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
An air conditioning factory that employs numerous people from the Bradford district was gutted by a major fire last night.
More than 100 firefighters from at least 22 fire stations across Bradford and Leeds tackled the blaze at the Airedale International Air Conditioning plant in Rawdon.
Roads were closed, with motorists urged to avoid the area, and residents living close by were advised to close their windows and doors as thick black smoke billowed 100ft in the air across the skyline.
The fire is believed to have started on the ground floor of the three-storey building, but flames were soon bursting through the roof as firefighters battled to get it under control. A fire service spokesman said the building contained “lots” of potentially explosive acetylene cylinders.
Fire crews arrived at the 25,000sq metre Leeds Road site just before 3pm, by which time employees had been evacuated. Firefighters tackled the flames using large water jets and aerial ladder platforms, with fire crews entering the building in relays of four at a time. Dave Walton, assistant chief fire officer with West Yorkshire Fire Service, said fire crews were able to move into the building just after 8pm to put out flames. He also said parts of the factory had been lost as a result of the blaze and that sprinklers would have made a difference. A statement on Airedale’s website said: “The building was evacuated immediately and all personnel were accounted for.”
American firm Modine, of which Airedale is a UK subsidiary, released a statement through executive vice-president and chief operating officer Thomas F. Marry. He said: “Above all, we are relieved to report that all of the Airedale employees are safe and accounted for. We thank the Airedale management and local fire brigades for acting so quickly. We are unable at this time to determine the full extent of the damage”