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Irish company escapes ‘largest ever’ West Midlands blaze

Firefighters at the scene of the West Midlands fire
Photo: West Midlands Fire Service

AN IRISH company appears to have had a lucky escape after its premises narrowly avoided being burned down in a massive fire in the West Midlands.

West Midlands Fire Service were joined by more than 200 firefighters to tackle the blaze, caused by a Chinese lantern  falling on 100,000 tonnes of plastic recycling bundle material at an industrial estate in Smethwick.

Cara Stationery, an Irish-owned company which uses a 24-hour distribution warehouse in an industrial estate next to the plastics factory, had to be evacuated.

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The fire, which started on Sunday night, had been bought under control to an area of about 90,000 sq metres.

The fire started in the borough of Sandwell, home to a number of Irish residents and businesses.

Cara’s owner Gerry Keany said staff expected to be allowed access on Monday evening to see the damage of the company’s warehouse.

A 6,000 ft plume of smoke is said to have been visible 50 miles awayPhoto: Masoud Zakery
A 6,000 ft plume of smoke is said to have been visible 50 miles away
Photo: Masoud Zakery

“They had to evacuate the building, but there’s no stock damage at this stage,” Mr Keany added.

“From our point of view it’s just a matter of getting our stock out to customers. We’ve got a lot of Irish clients down here, and that’s proven difficult at the moment.”

West Midlands Fire Service confirmed 10 firefighters had received treatment at the scene, while two were taken to hospital.

Nearby Galton Valley Primary School in Brasshouse Lane was shut owing to road closures while residents were warned to close their windows to avoid inhaling smoke.

The blaze could be seen 50 miles away while fire services estimated £6 million pound worth of damage was caused.

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