Firefighters pulled helicopters out of harms way as Sywell depot inferno spread

Some 70 firefighters are still on the scene at the Yusen Logistics depot in Sywell.
Some 70 firefighters are still on the scene at the Yusen Logistics depot in Sywell.

Half-a-dozen helicopters had to be pulled out of the way as a raging inferno spread through the white goods depot in Sywell this afternoon.

Chief fire officer Darren Dovey has confirmed that some 70 firefighters are still tackling the blaze at the Yusen Logistics factory at Sywell Aerodrome.

The 999 call was made at approximately 12.50pm when flames started emerging from the 50-metre by 50-metre building.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, Mr Dovey said the immediate concern was to move around six helicopters out of the neighbouring Sloane Helicopters hangar.

"Their priorities were to stop the fire spread into the adjacent building," he said. "Initially, our efforts were to spare around half-a-dozen helicopters and move them out of the hangar.

"Then, in order to protect the building, we had to secure a good water supply."

Mr Dovey said firefighters also had to make sure there were no fuel dumps or containers nearby before tackling the flames - as Sywell is a working airfield.

All flights have now been grounded there while 15 fire engines remain on the scene.

Firefighters are likely to remain there throughout the night damping down the depot. So far, there is no indication as to the cause of the blaze.

However, Mr Dovey said fire investigators will begin conducting interviews with Yusen Logistics staff tomorrow.

Police and ambulance services are on the scene and it is understood two people had suffered from smoke inhalation, though there are no casualties.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Paul Greenwood said: “We have around 15 fire service vehicles at the scene, including two aerial ladder platforms, two water bowsers, a high-volume pump, and our joint command unit.

“Although the affected building has been badly damaged, crews have been able to prevent the fire from spreading and causing further damage to nearby buildings and property.”

Those living nearby or affected by the smoke plume or ash from the fire are urged to close windows and doors and avoid unnecessary exposure. Drivers are also asked to avoid the area while the fire is dealt with.

Area manager Greenwood said: “All smoke is toxic. This is why we have issued precautionary advice about avoiding the smoke as much as possible and keeping windows and doors closed, especially if you are downwind of the fire.”

Road closures remain in place, including:

• Glebe Road - shut at the junction with Wellingborough Road
• Holcot Lane - shut at the junction with Overstone Road
• Holcot Lane - shut at the junction with A43
• Sywell Road - shut at the junction with Overstone Road
• Church Lane - shut at the junction of Sywell Road
• Sywell Road - shut at the junction with Wellingborough Road
• Traffic management is in place at the junction of Sywell Road/Moonshine Gap

Business owners from the site are requested to monitor police and fire websites and social media for information as to whether site access will be affected tomorrow.

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Huge plume of smoke seen for miles across Northamptonshire following massive blaze at Sywell Aerodrome