Striking firefighters praised for saving Wrexham factory


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

FIREFIGHTERS who battled a fierce factory blaze have been praised for saving the building from burning down.

They undertook the rescue during the latest firefighters’ strike and the Fire Brigades Union has said that, potentially, millions of pounds worth of stock was saved.

Four fire engines were sent to the incident in the early hours of yesterday morning on Bridge Road on the Wrexham Industrial Estate

The fire happened at the unit of Silverlining, a company which makes furniture for superyachts, aircrafts and homes.

Head of operations at Silverlining, Chris Schaefer, 49, said: “Without the fire service this would have gone up in flames without a doubt.

“It was about to self combust because of the build up of smoke. It was so thick that you could barely see six inches ahead.

“But the fire service found the source and dealt with it.

“We would like to thank them for their excellent work in tackling this.”

Mr Schaefer said it was still too early to assess exactly how much damage had been caused at the site.

However he stressed the unit would be back to normal operations as soon as possible.

“At this stage we can’t make a full assessment. But we will deal with it and quickly get going again.”

Mr Schaefer said the company had been established for about 30 years but had only been at its site on Bridge Road since Christmas.

Yesterday firefighters held a strike from 6am to 8am.

FBU secretary Shane Price said: “Firefighters were called out before the strike and continued to deal with the incident throughout the strike period.

“They were well aware that the industrial action was imminent. The firefighters potentially saved millions of pounds worth of stock.

“The fact that they continued to work shows they are truly professional and I am extremely proud of them.”

A spokesman for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters used eight breathing apparatus, three main jets and two hose reels to tackle the incident . There was smoke damage to the building and fire damage to machinery. Two crews from Wrexham attended together with one each from Johnstown and Chirk.

A preliminary assessment found the probable cause of the fire was accidental involving machinery.

Four crews tackled the blaze until it was extinguished at 7.42am. Crews returned after 8am to undertake post fire activities.

Speaking yesterday afternoon chief fire officer Simon Smith said: “I would like to commend our staff for continuing to deal with this incident into the strike period in such a professional manner.

“The latest period of strike action by firefighters came to an end at 8am, with a further strike planned for Wednesday evening.

“Our business continuity arrangements are operating effectively, but I would urge people not to be complacent.

“I am grateful to the public for their co-operation and for taking notice of our safety messages, but ask that they continue to remain vigilant. With further intermittent strikes over the coming week it is vital that we continue to take extra care.”

See full story in the Leader

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