Burnley factory fire update: Company owner estimates damage could be more than half-a-million-pounds

The owner of a Burnley company, hit by a devastating blaze overnight, believes the fire could have caused over half-a-million-pounds worth of damage.

By Susan Plunkett
Friday, 29th May 2020, 6:02 pm

Sixty firefighters from across Lancashire were called to the blaze at Equestrian Surfaces in Accrington Road just after midnight and they remain there this morning damping down at the scene.

Managing Director Rita Harper said: "We believe the damage could be in the region of half-a-million-plus as there is a lot of equipment in the factory including four tractors and a JCB.2

Mrs Parker and her sons, Thomas and James who run the company with their cousin Luke Wilkinson, were called out after a worker at neighbour company EFS spotted flames coming from Equestrian Surfaces based at the Phoenix Works.

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A dramatic image of the blaze at Equestrian Surfaces captured by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters from Burnley and Nelson were called to the scene initially but they were soon forced to call for support as the fire quickly escalated in size and ferocity.

Another five fire engines from across Lancashire responded to the call, with crews from Colne, Great Harwood, Hyndburn and Rawtenstall, as well as two aerial ladder platforms from Hyndburn and Morecambe attending.

A high volume pump from Burnley and the stinger appliance from Skelmersdale was also requested.

Further support was also provided with the command support unit from Blackburn and an aerial support unit was also in attendance.

A dramatic image of the blaze at Equestrian Surfaces captured by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

By 3am, around 60 firefighters were working at the scene to bring the fire under control using multiple jets.

An hour later, the fire service had managed to 'sectorise' the blaze and in addition to firefighting activity on the ground, the ALP and Stinger has been used to help fight the fire from above ground.

Residents living close to scene of the blaze were advised to keep their windows and doors closed due to heavy smoke from the blaze and police closed the road off for several hours.

At 10am today machinery was being brought out of the factory, which is covered by CCTV cameras to hose down and also check there were not pockets of fire inside them. Investigations into the cause of the fire will begin once the site is declared safe.

A dramatic image of the blaze at Equestrian Surfaces captured by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

Mrs Harper praised firefighters for their 'fantastic' work saying: "They were absolutely amazing, we can't thank them enough for how hard they have worked.

"Tnis is obviously devastating for us but we have to just get on with it and salvage what we can."

Crews were supplied with food and drink by volunteers from the Stockport branch of the Salvation Army as they battled the blaze throughout the night.

Established 35 years ago Equestrian Surfaces has sites in Burnley and Cheshire and employs around 30 staff.

The aftermath of the blaze at Equestrian Surfaces this morning

Moving the East Lancashire site from Padiham to Burnley 15 years ago there are nine staff based at the Phoenix Works. Closed due the pandemic, the company had re-opened a couple of weeks ago with many staff working from home.

Equestrian Surfaces supplies, manufactures and install all weather, fully synthetic riding surfaces for all disciplines.

The company has undertaken contracts throughout the world and its many clients include the Queen.

The flames ripped through the roof of the factory at Equestrian Surfaces in Burnley last night.