Cleckheaton factory rocked by explosion

Explosion at the Flexitallic factory.  (d612c310)
Explosion at the Flexitallic factory. (d612c310)

An explosion at a Cleckheaton factory which shook floors and rattled furniture of nearby houses is being investigated.

Thirteen people were taken to hospital following the blast which took place in Flexitallic’s Scandinavia Mills facility – formerly known as Novus – in Hunsworth Lane on Monday evening.

Fire crews were called after reports of the explosion in one of the ovens.

People nearby said their floors and furniture were shaking, and they saw huge plumes of white smoke coming from the factory.

The blast blew out windows and damaged the roof of the building.

Fire crews and a fire investigation officer were there for more than two hours.

Early reports said two people had been taken to hospital with minor injuries, but West Yorkshire Fire Service later confirmed 13 people had gone to hospital for precautionary check-ups.

No-one was seriously injured.

A spokeswoman for Flexitallic, which makes gaskets, said: “The building damaged in the incident is now undergoing a structural survey to establish levels of damage and maintenance work required to make the buildings structurally safe.”

“The incident team at Flexitallic is communicating with local residents, businesses, media and internally to all staff, to ensure everyone concerned is kept fully up to date.

“The area involved remains secured and cordoned off, except for access by approved officials.”

An investigation is being under to find out the cause of the incident.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We are certainly looking into the incident, and attended the scene the morning after it happened. Investigations are still ongoing.”
The oven was used for gasket sheet manufacturing

Nigel Robinson, from neighbouring Scandinavia Terrace, said: “It shook our house. I was in the living room when there was a huge bang and our ground shook.

“The next thing we knew, there were emergency services all over the street.”

One woman, who lives in Willow Street, said: “When I heard the bang, I was worried a bomb had gone off – I was just relieved to hear nobody was injured.

“After the explosion, there was a strange smell that came into my house, but that soon went.”

Bronwen Young, of Hunsworth Lane, said: “It shook the house and rattled the windows. My chair jumped. We saw and heard men running around shouting and fire engines came. We saw a big plume of smoke. They closed the road and told us to keep our windows and doors closed. We saw ambulances coming down so we knew something had happened.”