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Explosions reported as fire breaks out next to runway in Suffolk

Fire Fighters. File Photo (AFP)

Explosions have been reported at the Parham Airfield in Suffolk where a huge fire has broken out with enormous clouds of black smoke visible from miles away.

The conflagration is thought to have started when equipment overheated during a manufacturing process at a fibreglass moulding plant. Nearby residents have been advised to keep doors and windows closed due to the volume of smoke coming from the incident.

When firefighters from the Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the scene shortly after 9:43am on Thursday they found the single-storey factory had gone up in flames.

The site houses equipment used in the production of fibreglass moulding and its age could mean asbestos is present, the service said.

 Asbestos is an excellent electrical insulator and is highly heat-resistant, so for many years it was used as a building material.[1] However, it is now a well-known health and safety hazard and the use of asbestos as a building material is illegal in many countries. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to various serious lung conditions, including asbestosis and cancer.[2]

A spokesperson for the fire brigade has revealed that the fire has now been contained and that there have been no casualties. Ten engines remain at the scene near Framlingham.

 The spokesperson added: “We understand from workers that the cause of the fire may have been due to some overheating during their manufacturing process.

“However, we will be carrying out a fire investigation when it safe to do so, to identify the cause.”

The fire service tweeted: “Our crews are currently attending a fire at premises near Parham Airfield.

“Due to the amount of smoke in the area, local residents and businesses are advised to keep doors and windows closed.”

A witness said she had “never seen a fire like it”.

“By the time I happened to be passing, just after 10am, the fire was absolutely blazing through the roof of what looked like an original Second World War building,“ she told East Anglican Daily Times.

“It looked like it had an asbestos roof and was very close to the control tower museum.

“There were two massive explosions and in one a flaming barrel flew high into the air.

“Someone from a nearby farm said there was apparently a large amount of resin stored in the building.”


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