Cause of Twyfords factory fire may never be known
INVESTIGATORS have warned the cause of a major factory fire which destroyed a number of businesses may never be known.
Inquiries are today continuing to try to find out how the fire on part of the Twyfords site in Etruria started.
• GALLERY: Etruria blaze at former Twyfords site
CCTV has been salvaged from the scene to allow fire officers to study footage taken from the site before and after the blaze. A smoke detector panel has also been retrieved which should show where the fire started.
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Officers also want to track down the last people in the area before Friday afternoon's fire.
A number of businesses – including IT firms and technology companies – have lost all their equipment in the fire.
Brian Griffiths, assistant area commander with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, who is part of the investigating team, said: "We are not ruling anything out and there are three options – accidental, deliberate or unknown.
"We will go through a sequence of processes before we even go on to the site.
"It has been a case of speaking to the owner and also the last people thought to be on the site before the fire started. We have been told that there is CCTV footage, which will be viewed. The panel which controls the smoke detectors has also been salvaged and that will tell us where the fire was first detected."
The fire broke out at around 4.30pm on Friday as embers from the blaze reached as far as Festival Park.
A series of explosions could also be heard as flames ripped through the building.
At the height of the blaze around 80 firefighters, including crews from as far as Rugeley, Burton and areas of Derbyshire, were deployed.
Problems with water pressure in the area forced crews to use a specialist high volume pump and drain the nearby Trent and Mersey Canal.
Fire crews remained at the scene over the weekend as they tried to extinguish small pockets of fire.
Garner Street was reopened to traffic over the weekend after being closed because of the intensity of the fire.
Friday's fire saw a large steel frame storage area in the centre of the site collapse.
The blaze also engulfed a number of trailers and forklift trucks.
Fears were raised during the incident that the blaze could also engulf the adjoining Twyfords House.
Heat from the fire caused further blazes inside the building – which is sub-let as offices to a dozen businesses – with partition walls and furniture going up in smoke.
Structural engineers and insurance assessors are yet to carry out a full investigation into the state of the building. The results of their findings could yet see it demolished.
Business owners who rented out space in the centre visited the scene over the weekend as firefighters attempted to rescue computers containing important hard-drives.
Firefighter Dale Harrison said: "The owner of the site and occupiers have visited the scene and are just looking at where they can set up their businesses to get them back up and running as soon as possible.
"Most came to the site on Saturday and asked us for specific items, which we will try to get for them."
Mr Harrison added: "There have been issues with protecting firefighter safety due to the layout of the plot so we have had to use aerial ladder platforms.
"Because of the way the structure collapsed it covered up some fires, which stayed burning until Sunday but they are under control."
Police advised residents to keep their doors and windows closed following the fire.
A police spokesman said: "There have been no reported injuries. The cause of the fire has yet to be established."