Cambridgeshire

Peterborough fire: Trailers in blaze at Whirlpool HQ

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Media captionThe trailers contained spare parts for washing machines and fridges

Explosions were heard as fire engulfed 52 lorry trailers at the headquarters of domestic appliance giant Whirlpool.

Black smoke could be seen for miles around the Shrewsbury Avenue site in Peterborough after the fire broke out about 19:00 BST on Thursday.

Eight crews and 55 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

The fire was under control by 22:17 BST but continued to smoulder, a fire service spokesman added.

Police remained at the site overnight and fire crews were due to inspect the site on Friday.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The fire gutted 52 lorry trailers

Witnesses reported hearing explosions and the fire service said it received almost 200 calls from concerned members of the public.

Group commander Karl Bowden said the loud bangs reported were tyres on the trailers "popping off the rims" in the searing heat.

"These are the articulated lorry trailers, so they're the largest ones you can get," he said.

"These lorry trailers are full of parts for washing machines and fridges."

Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption Eight crews from four counties tackled the blaze

Firefighters from Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk were involved in tackling the blaze but Mr Bowden said only one crew remained overnight dampening down hotspots.

A Whirlpool spokeswoman said no-one was injured and none of its buildings on the site were affected.

Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption The shells of the trailers and their contents were still smouldering on Friday

She said the fire began in an area where heavy goods vehicle trailers were parked.

The company confirmed 52 trailers out of 110 parked on the site were affected.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption A police drone thermal image shows the two rows of trailers on fire

The site would be operating as normal on Friday, the spokeswoman said, adding: "We also apologise to people living and working in the area for any disruption caused."

Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption The heavy black smoke could be seen for several miles around the Shrewsbury Avenue site

Whirlpool, which owns the brand Hotpoint, has its UK headquarters at the Peterborough site.

About 1,000 of Whirlpool's 2,500 UK workforce are based there.

Image copyright Cambridge Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption There were no reports of injuries and the headquarters remains open
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Firefighters are re-inspecting the site regularly

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