Chemical blaze traps villagers in their homes

VILLAGERS in Annesley Woodhouse were told to stay in their homes for several hours after a large blaze involving a chemical-filled container.

The fire started at the Collins Earthworks firm on an industrial estate off Park Lane, Kirkby on Friday March 23.

A tanker containing calcium carbonate (quicklime) is thought to have overheated and caught fire.

Residents were told to keep their windows and doors shut until lunchtime on Saturday March 24 because of fears surrounding fumes from the blaze.

A section of the MI between junction 27 at Annesley and junction 28 at Mansfield was closed from 5.30 pm last Friday, causing chaos during the rush hour. The road re-opened at 8.15 pm.

A 200-metre cordon was set up around the industrial estate. The fire affected hundreds of households as far afield as parts of Derbyshire.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters could not use water to extinguish the flames because of the chemical involved. Instead they had to let the fire burn itself out while closely monitoring it.

Fire crews were at the scene until the early hours of Monday morning, March 26, when the temperature of the chemical had dropped sufficiently to mean it was no longer a danger.

Coun Rachel Madden (Lib Dem), who is a member of Ashfield District Council, Notts County Council and Annesley Parish Council, said firefighters should be commended for the way they tackled the blaze.

It has since been confirmed that the smoke from the fire was not toxic or harmful.