Review of the year: June

JUNE 2013 Town crier Russell Booth helped evacuate a burning supermarket in Mirfield.
JUNE 2013 Town crier Russell Booth helped evacuate a burning supermarket in Mirfield.

Here’s our highlights for June:

l A huge tower of smoke filled the skies as fire engulfed a concrete tank packed with plastic pellets.

The plume could be spotted for miles as crews from Dewsbury, Cleckheaton, Batley and Bradford tackled the blaze at an old sewerage works on the border of Dewsbury Moor and Heckmondwike.

Luckily, the fire was contained in a large circular concrete holding area which meant there was no fear of it spreading,.

Firefighters had to seek specialist advice because of the nature of the material on fire, and water from the River Spen was used to put it out.

Officer in charge David Teggart said: “The tank was full of plastic pellets but it’s been disused for quite some time so there was no wet in there, the plastic has been very dry. The fire started, we believe, inside the tank and had effectively consumed most of the tank which had collapsed.”

l A heroic town crier rushed into a burning supermarket to help evacuate customers on his first day in the role.

Russell Booth was dressed in full civic costume when he saw flames licking up the back of the Co-operative Food store in Mirfield.

He dashed into the shop, walking up and down the aisles shouting ‘Oyez, oyez, fire, fire, fire,’ before clearing the car park for the fire engine to arrive. He said: “It was so surreal to be saving the people of the town that you are cheering - 15 minutes into the job.”

Mr Booth, 50, was in the town centre for the Mirfield Coronation Dance Festival morris dancing event.

He’d just fished his first cry when a dancer alerted him to the fire, which started at the rear of the store before spreading to the main building. Mr Booth wheeled a baby in a pram out of the store before firefighters arrived.

l Millions of pounds were to be ploughed onto a scheme to regenerate an historic quarter of Dewsbury town centre.

Almost £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be used alongside council cash to revitalise the Northgate area, it was announced.

The Dewsbury Townscape Heritage Initiative is likely to focus on Branch Road, Northgate, the Kingsway and Queensway arcades and Grade-II listed Pioneer House. Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell said: “Dewsbury’s town centre contains some historic buildings and substantial investment will now allow them to reach their full potential as office and retail spaces. “Not only will this improve how the town centre looks and feels, but by encouraging businesses to establish in Dewsbury, this money will create jobs and stimulate the local economy, bringing people back into the town centre.”