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Hessle fire: explosions heard as firefighters tackle huge blaze near Hull

The Guardian logo The Guardian 4 days ago Helen Pidd North of England editor
Photograph: CL29Photography/PA © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: CL29Photography/PA

Firefighters are tackling a huge blaze and apparent explosions on an industrial estate near Hull.

Some residents were evacuated from nearby houses and emergency services warned residents to keep their doors and windows closed as they respond to the incident in Hessle.

Daren Hale, the leader of Hull city council, said he understood that everyone had got out of the factory safely. “Everyone is accounted for, is our understanding, but there’s a toxic plume which has gone up into the sky which the Environment Agency are currently analysing to work out what is in it,” he said.

Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @CL29Photography of a large fire in Hessle, East Yorkshire. © Photograph: CL29Photography/PA Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @CL29Photography of a large fire in Hessle, East Yorkshire.

He said it was the Thompsons plastic factory on the Priory Park estate which had caught fire, over the Hull council boundary in East Riding.

Humberside Fire and Rescue said they were in attendance, adding: “We advise local residents to close windows and doors. Please avoid the Priory Way to A63 area and be mindful there is a large amount of smoke in the area and surrounding roads.”


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Humberside police also warned members of the public to avoid the area.

Footage posted to social media showed flames and loud explosions near residential housing, with a large plume of smoke rising into the sky.

An eyewitness told Radio Humberside that after the initial explosion clumps of what felt like polystyrene fell from the sky. “They have apparently showered #Hessle. It feels like polystyrene,” tweeted reporter James Hoggarth.

Hale said that the fire had “taken out” an electricity substation. That caused the power cuts, including to the Priory Park traffic lights, which was causing additional jams, he added.

Emma Hardy, the MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, also said there were power cuts in Hessle as a result of the fire. She lives within a mile of the industrial estate and said her partner rang asking where the candles were. “Northern Powergrid is sorting it out,” she said.

Grace Grant, 25, told the PA news agency that she heard explosions coming from the fire.

“It was huge, smoke could be seen from miles away. As I moved off, explosions were happening around every 10 seconds”, she said.

Anthony Whitley, who lives in Hessle, told the BBC he saw the roof of the factory near Saxon Way go up in flames.

Caroline Frost, a manager at the Hessle preschool nursery, told the broadcaster: “It’s quite scary actually, you can hear the explosions. It is a huge plume of black smoke so we’re just moving as quickly as we can to get things organised.”

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