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Newbury explosions 'could have been catastrophic'

Fire crews say things could have got dangerous had they not taken action

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Newbury explosions 'could have been catastrophic'

A FIRE at a commercial premises in Newbury last night - which was caused by a shipping container of lithium batteries going up in flames - could have been catastrophic, firefighters have said.

Several large explosions were heard across the town and smoke could be seen coming from the site in Abex Road.

The blaze, which started just after 5pm and took an hour and a half to extinguish, is being treated as accidental.

Fire crews from Newbury and Whitley Wood spent three hours making the scene safe, leaving just after 8pm.

Crew manager Mike Wilson said: "There was a decision to make about how many people we commit because you never know how bad it is going to be.

"It was becoming more and more intense and we needed to take immediate action. It could have been catastrophic otherwise."

"There were several explosions and we had to take advice from chemical experts before we put water on the fire.

"We managed to get the fire under control by tying the hoses to a nearby fence."

Several residents got in touch with NewburyToday to say they had heard up to ten explosions followed by sirens.

One resident, who lives just 200 yards away from the site, said he was concerned for his family's safety.

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Article comments

  • Justin S

    18/11/2017 - 16:04

    Always makes me chuckle how people are concerned about their personal safety. I am sure the firemen or even their own common sense would tell them to get out and away from the scene, if they felt it was an issue. With the advent of technology and high battery consumption with smaller batteries required , then LI batteries are going to be used. This creates an issue with costs of them and safety. I was always told to avoid anything with 'fire' in the name, as their products arent safe.


  • Louise


    18/11/2017 - 14:02

    Lithium battery fires are very difficult to fight as using water makes things worse/ can cause explosions. Various electrical product manufacturers have had issues with these batteries causing fires eg laptops/ cellphones. Recalls have ensured. In 1996 there was a major lithium battery fire in nearby Abingdon in the UK factory of Ultralife.


    • croggy1

      18/11/2017 - 16:04

      Thanks for the really interesting history lesson there deary......